At least six people are dead and more than 36 others were wounded following a shooting at a July Fourth parade in a Chicago suburb on Monday. Police said the gunman opened fire at parade-goes from a near-by rooftop.
The suspect, 21-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, was taken into custody several hours later after surrendering to authorities, according to Highland Park's police chief.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the parade began around 10 A.M. and the shooting began only 10 minutes later. Hundreds of parade-goers — some visibly bloodied — fled the parade route, leaving behind chairs, baby strollers and blankets. Police told people: “Everybody disperse, please. It is not safe to be here.”
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Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference “several of the deceased victims” died at the scene and one was taken to a hospital and died there. Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek added that the five people killed at the parade were adults, but didn’t have information on the sixth victim. Those wounded ranged in age from 8 to 85, including four or five children.
President Joe Biden said he and his wife Jill were "shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day."
Biden referred in his statement to bipartisan gun-reform legislation he signed recently but said much more needed to be done, and added: "I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence."
Speaking at a news conference Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said "It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague.”
Israel's Foreign Ministry said it received reports of Jewish casualties, without immediately providing further information. One of the victims was later identified as Jacki Sundheim, the events and b'nei mitzvah coordinator at a local synagogue.
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"Jacki was a lifelong congregant of NSCI and a cherished member of NSCI's staff team for decades, there are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones," North Shore Congregation Israel, a local Reform synagogue, wrote in an email to its congregants informing them of Sundheim's killing.
Highland Park is home to a substantial Jewish population — about a third of the town’s 30,000 residents, according JTA. There are synagogues from multiple denominations, and substantial Jewish populations in many of the neighboring suburbs.
The shooting comes with gun violence fresh on the minds of many Americans. Just hours after the shooting in Highland Park, two Philadelphia police offers were shot near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as thousands of people celebrated a Fourth of July concert and fireworks show, local officials and media said.
In May, a gunman murdered 19 school children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, just 10 days after a man shot dead 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
JTA and Michael Hauser Tov contributed to this report.