What we know about the Highland Park mass shooting

A mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb Monday left at least six people dead and two dozen injured. Authorities have described a person of interest as a 22-year-old white male, with a manhunt now underway. Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief at the Chicago Sun-Times who was at the parade when the shots rang out, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    A mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb this morning left at least six people dead and about two dozen more injured.

    Five of the six adults died at the scene. One child was critically wounded. And hundreds of people fled from the parade. The gunman has not been captured. Police say they are still hunting for a 22-year-old person of interest named Robert Crimo. It is the latest mass shooting at what used to be the most ordinary and routine places in this country. A supermarket, an elementary school and now a holiday parade have all been targeted in the last six weeks.

    And a warning tonight about our coverage: It does include video and graphic accounts of today's shooting.

    It was a parade to celebrate the Fourth that turned into terror and panic.

    (GUNFIRE)

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Gunfire cut the celebrations short, and attendees fled, leaving a barren scene.

    The deadly shooting happened in Highland Park, a wealthy suburb around 25 miles north of downtown Chicago. Mayor Nancy Rotering said her entire community was reeling from the loss.

    Nancy Rotering, Mayor of Highland Park, Illinois: This morning at 10:14, our community was terrorized by an act of violence that has shaken us to our core. On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we're instead mourning the loss, the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Police say gunfire erupted around 10 minutes after the parade began and came from a nearby roof.

    Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, a lot of popping sounds, definitely a lot of shots.

    Jay Smith is the executive producer of "Chicago Tonight" at WTTW in Chicago. He was at the parade as the shooting broke out.

  • Jay Smith, WTTW:

    Very quickly, we saw police on the street running east, running towards where the gunshots were coming from or where we heard the gunshots. And the police were yelling: "Shooter, shooter. Run, run, run."

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Authorities found a high-powered rifle left behind after the chaos.

    President Biden today said he was shocked by the senseless gun violence that brought grief throughout the community.

    For more on this horrific event, I spoke a short time ago with Lynn Sweet. She is the Washington bureau chief at The Chicago Sun-Times. And she was at the parade today when the shots rang out.

    Lynn, welcome to the "NewsHour." Thank you for joining us.

    So we saw that report there and heard from some folks on the ground. But just tell me. You were there at the parade. Tell me what you heard and saw as that shooting began. How did you first realize something was horribly wrong?

  • Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief, The Chicago Sun-Times:

    Well, I have been to this parade many, many times. I have family in Hyde Park, which is why I'm here right now.

    And what I saw something terribly wrong, when I started seeing dozens of people running towards me, looking horrified, I was a bit away from where the shooter was. So, I didn't hear their shots going. But I certainly saw people running literally for their lives, because some of them actually saw what had happened, people shot, wounded.

    So, why people were running, I did walk towards where they were running from. I observed bodies dead, terribly slaughtered by gunshot. The rapid fire from this shooter just destroyed half of body I saw. I'm sorry to be so gruesome.

    I saw people wounded. In a way, what is a blessing because so many Highland Park emergency vehicles were there for the parade — in their Fourth of July parade, you have the ambulance there, the fire department. There were many first responders on the scene already to tend to the wounded.

    What I saw out there and what leaves a deep impression is the moment frozen in time, people fleeing, again, literally for their lives, their chairs, those summer that everyone brings to parade, water bottles, backpacks, bits of food, hats just left there, especially all the baby carriages just left there as people fled.

    And as I speak to you now, I'm in Highland Park just a few blocks from the shooting scene. And the shooter is still at large. People are still sheltering in place.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Lynn, help us understand that. As you mentioned, officials have said they're still looking for the shooter. They have released a description.

    It has been several hours. What do we know about the investigation and why it's taking so long to find him?

  • Lynn Sweet:

    Well, Highland Park has been giving briefings about every half-hour with officials.

    This town is barricaded every which way right now, massive police presence. Even the beach is closed, the roads to the beach here. So, what we know is that this so far lone gunman is at large. As but have been reporting, I'm sure, a rapid-fire weapon, a high-powered rifle was retrieved.

    And the police are doing sweeps.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    So, Lynn, you were talking to people who live there in Highland Park, reporting as soon as this shooting happened. What did they tell you about this kind of thing? Do they expect that this sort of shooting would ever happen there?

  • Lynn Sweet:

    No. No one expected it.

    This was a Fourth of July parade. And people hadn't been together because of COVID at this parade in a long time. It is an event where you're — it's very celebratory. And then the mood suddenly changes in an instant.

    And with the shooter still at large, the incident is still with us, because people are terrified that this active shooting incident may not be over.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That is Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief at the Chicago Sun-Times, joining us tonight from Highland Park.

    Lynn, thank you so much.

  • Lynn Sweet:

    Thank you.

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