HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — It sounded at first like fireworks to the parents who had brought excited children to a charming Fourth of July parade in their town. Or perhaps a military salute to the flag.
But within seconds, as marching band members and politicians strutted down the street, horrified spectators realized the noise from a nearby rooftop was a high-powered rifle spraying bullets into the crowd, killing six people and wounding dozens.
The attack in Highland Park, a usually safe lakefront suburb north of Chicago, set police on a sprawling manhunt that forced residents to shelter in place and prompted neighboring cities to cancel their own holiday celebrations.
Even in a country battered from the constancy of mass shootings — at grocery stores and elementary schools and on urban street corners — the carnage in Illinois proved shocking. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group, the shooting Monday was the 15th this year in which at least four people were fatally shot in the United States.
For reasons that remained unclear to police Monday evening, officials said a young man had climbed onto a rooftop with a high-powered rifle and begun firing into a sea of families in lawn chairs who were celebrating Independence Day.
Police officers, who were already assigned to the parade route, arrived quickly and rushed to help the wounded, authorities said. Victims ranged in age from 8 to 85, doctors who received the injured at local hospitals said.
In the evening, police said they had taken into custody Robert E. Crimo III, 22, whom they identified as a person of interest. Earlier in the day, authorities had said he was “from the area” and goes by the name Bobby, police said. They had warned that he was armed and told the public not to approach him.
The shooting brought outpourings of sympathy from across the state and country, and renewed pleas among Democrats for stricter gun laws, barely a week after President Joe Biden signed the most significant gun legislation to clear Congress in decades. Biden said he was “shocked by the senseless gun violence.”
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