At a Monday July 4 parade in Chicago’s Highland Park, a gunman perched on a roof opened fire on families waving flags and children riding bicycles, killing six and injuring more than 36 people.
Police said the gunman climbed onto the roof of a business using a ladder in an alley. The attack became a civic display of patriotism in a scene of panic and chaos.
Hours later, police said they had a suspect in custody after 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III turned himself in to authorities, The USA Herald reports.
Victims of the Highland Park shooting
Confirmation of an unspecified number of Jewish victims from the local community was received, with media reports specifying two, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said. One of the Jewish victims was identified as Jacki Sundheim by North Shore Congregation Israel, a Reform synagogue in Glencoe, Illinois, a few miles from Highland Park.
Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all,” the synagogue wrote on its site. “Jacki was a lifelong member of NSCI and a valued member of the NSCI staff team for decades.
The USA Herald said an elderly Jewish man was killed in the shooting and more members of the Jewish community were injured. The Israeli Consulate of the Midwest is in contact with the authorities and the Jewish community.
At least one of the dead was a Mexican national, a senior Mexican Foreign Ministry official said on Twitter.
Downtown Chabad is reportedly four blocks from the site of the shooting. According to Chabad, Highland Park has a large Jewish community.
What happened on the 4th of July?
Witnesses returned to retrieve strollers and other items later Monday but were told they couldn’t go beyond the police tape. Highland Park’s main street is now a crime scene spanning several blocks, littered with abandoned chairs and flags.
Retired physician Richard Kaufman said “it sounded like fireworks” that he was standing across the street from where the gunman opened fire, adding that he heard about 200 shots.
“It was pandemonium,” he said. “People were covered in blood tripping over each other.”
Biden referred in his statement to bipartisan gun reform legislation he recently signed, but said much more needed to be done, adding, “I’m not going to stop fighting the gun violence epidemic.”
President Joe Biden said he and his wife Jill were “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has once again caused the American community pain on this Independence Day.”
Eyewitness reports of a horrific scene
A reporter for The USA Herald said they had seen blankets placed over bloodied bodies.
Video from the scene appears to show parade goers running away when the shots were fired. A klezmer band is heard playing at the time of the shooting.
“Today, a shooter hit Highland Park during the Independence Day parade,” said Congressman Brad Schneider. “My campaign team and I were meeting at the beginning of the parade when the shooting started.”
A town of mourning
“Devastated to hear the news from Highland Park, where a day of celebration turned into a day of tragedy,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday night. “My thoughts are with the families of the victims and the entire American people. Today, as always, Israel stands with our American friends.”
The Chicago Jewish Community Relations Council, an umbrella organization for more than 40 Jewish groups in Chicago, tweeted saying, “What happens in one neighborhood affects our entire community.”
“Our hearts and prayers go out to members of the community. We thank the local authorities for their immediate response.” I’m following the horrible news from Highland Park. said Yinam Cohen, Israel’s consul general in the US Midwest.
“The city mourns the tragic loss and injuries of those who came out to celebrate with us today,” Highland Park Township said. “We share the pain of all who are mourning the loss of a loved one, and our hearts go out to everyone affected by today’s events.”
Our hearts go out to the Midwest this morning with our American friends in Highland Park. “The 4th of July Independence Day festivities turned into a day of horror. We mourn the tragic and senseless loss of life, and we will always be with you,” the Home Secretary said. Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) tweeted.
“The people of Israel support and send the deepest condolences to the entire American nation, to the people of Chicago, and to the Jewish community,” he wrote.
“We stand with our brothers and sisters in Highland Park who are experiencing one of the most difficult days of their lives,” Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich tweeted.