The suspect in Monday’s armed attack was arrested during a rally near Chicago. It is about a 22-year-old boy. Six people died and more than 30 were injured. In yet another country reeling from the recent spate of armed attacks, the tragedy took place in Highland Park, North America. President Joe Biden said he was “shocked” and vowed to continue the fight against the “epidemic of gun violence” after the new bloodshed.
Hundreds of police officers searched for the teenager, who armed himself with a heavy-duty rifle, aimed at the crowd in the city of 30,000 on the shores of Lake Michigan.
He climbed onto the roof of a shop and panicked before fleeing.
Police identified the suspect as Robert – Bobby – Grimeau, 22 and “from the area” and released a photo of a young man shot in the face and with tattoos.
“Be very vigilant, this person is a fugitive,” police spokesman Christopher Covely warned. “He is considered armed and very dangerous,” he added.
After a brief car chase, the suspect was taken into custody “without incident,” Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen told reporters Monday night.
On the holiday, hundreds of people, including many families with children, took their seats on the sidewalks of Highland Park to participate in the traditional 4th of July parade, America’s Independence Day, as elsewhere in the United States. Gunfire rang out as high school marching bands marched through the streets.
“We heard about 50 gunshots and we all thought they were firecrackers,” one eyewitness, Zoe, told CNN. “At one point, I saw a woman covered in blood, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said, adding, “a sea of panic where people fell on each other”. She hid behind a dumpster before taking refuge in a basement. After he leaves, he discovers “a battlefield.”
“We wanted to enjoy a day with family – and then suddenly there was this shooting. I wanted to believe it was a car reversing. Then people started running – so we started running,” said Anand B. A person who was there during the march, writes the BBC.
Another witness, Noel Hara, described how he left his son at the parade and ate breakfast at Starbucks. “About 30 people suddenly came screaming and we were locked in a bathroom at Starbucks. After a few minutes, they kicked us out of Starbucks because they thought the shooter was trying to get in the back door,” Noel Hara told the BBC.
From the first information of the investigation, the assailant opened fire on the roof of a shop and managed to escape the fire. “It was very clever and hard to watch,” Christopher Covelli said. He fled immediately, but a “powerful” gun was found by the police.
Five people, all adults, died at the scene, while a sixth person was taken to hospital. At least 30 people aged between 8 and 85 were treated by emergency services, and some, including a child, were in critical condition, a hospital official said.
Festivals were immediately suspended in several nearby towns, which closed their beaches and urged people to exercise extreme caution.
The tragedy immediately revived the gun debate, with about 400 million in circulation in the United States. “It’s too bad that America’s respected holiday is being ruined by a typical American scourge,” said Illinois Governor JP Pritzker. “The only freedom we deny our citizens is to live without the daily fear of guns,” he added.
Saying he was “shocked,” Democratic President Joe Biden vowed in a statement to continue the fight against the “epidemic of gun violence” after the latest bloodshed.
The gun violence comes at a time when gun violence is fresh on the minds of many Americans, following the May 24 massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were shot dead. On May 14, ten people were killed in a store in Buffalo, New York.
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