Police search for a motive in Highland Park mass shooting

A seventh person has died from the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Police said today the gunman pre-planned the July Fourth attack for several weeks. More than 30 other people were injured after the suspect fired over 70 rounds during a holiday parade. While the community grieves, law enforcement is still trying to determine a motive. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    A seventh person has died from the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Police are charging the gunmen with multiple counts this evening.

    Officials said today that the 21-year-old preplanned the July 4 attack for several weeks. Nearly 40 other people were injured after the suspect fired over 70 rounds of ammunition during a holiday parade. While the community grieves, law enforcement is still trying to determine a motive.

    Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage with this report.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The scene of chaos yesterday allegedly came from a calculated plan weeks in the making. Police in Illinois today released more information about Robert "Bobby" Crimo, the 21-year-old accused of carrying out yesterday's deadly mass shooting.

    Officials say he used in AR-15-style rifle, with a second one found with him when he was arrested, plus other handguns at his residence. All were bought legally and locally, but authorities provided other no details on how.

    Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said the gunman climbed onto a roof via a fire escape before shooting down on the crowd.

  • Chris Covelli, Lake County, Illinois, Sheriff’s Office:

    During the attack, Crimo was dressed in women's clothing. And investigators do believe he did this to conceal his facial tattoos and his identity and help him during the escape with the other people who were fleeing the chaos.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Authorities said concern about the suspect was raised twice in 2019, a suicide attempt, which was handled by mental health officials, and separately a threat to his family.

  • Chris Covelli:

    A family member reported that Crimo said he was going to kill everyone, and Crimo had a collection of knives. The police responded to his residence. The police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo's home.

    At that time, there was no probable cause to arrest.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Today, the parade route was behind police lines still scattered with abandoned belongings of those who fled in terror.

    The scene joined a bloody collage, a church, school and grocery store. All have been recent sites of mass murder. This time, it was the heavily Jewish Chicago suburb of Highland Park that was terrorized by gun violence. Police said the shooter's motive was still unclear.

  • Chris Covelli:

    We have no information to suggest at this point it was racially motivated, motivated by religion or any other protected status.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Witnesses described a community shattered.

  • Ron Tuazon, Parade Attendee:

    Everyone is pretty shaken. I think you are used to hearing about this stuff elsewhere. But it definitely hits a lot harder when it's not only your hometown, but it's also, like, right in front of you.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The ages of those killed or wounded spanned from eight to 85, among the dead, 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo, grandfather with eight children. He was visiting his family, who described him as their guardian angel.

    Another victim, Jacki Sundheim, a teacher and lifelong member of a nearby synagogue. That congregation said her warmth and kindness touched them all. Also killed, victims named today were Irina and Kevin McCarthy, parents to a surviving 2-year-old, 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein, an 88-year-old Stephen Straus.

    The accused gunman who unleashed the chaos had a history of glorifying mass murders on far right Internet forums. The United States has seen at least 315 mass shootings this year, defined as four or more people injured or shot.

    At the White House, flags flew at half-staff to mourn a tragic and now very familiar American day.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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