The tragedy in a country still reeling from a recent spate of deadly shootings happened in Highland Park in the northern United States. Hours later, police arrested the suspect in the shooting that killed at least six people and wounded 26 during a July 4th parade near Chicago on Monday.
Hundreds of police officers searched for the young man who fired a powerful rifle at the crowd that had gathered in this affluent town of 30,000 on the shores of Lake Michigan. The man had positioned himself on the roof of a shop and sowed panic before fleeing.
Police had identified one suspect, Robert – known as “Bobby” – Crimo, aged 22 and “from the area”. She had posted a photo of a see-through young man with an emaciated and tattooed face.
The suspect’s photo released by the authorities. Government/Handout via R
“Be very vigilant, this person is on the run,” warned one of his spokesmen, Christopher Covelli. “She is considered armed and very dangerous.”
After a brief chase, the suspect was arrested “without incident,” Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen told reporters Monday night.
The man has several pages online introducing him as a Chicago musician nicknamed “Awake the Rapper.” Authorities had deployed a huge security force using armored vehicles and federal reinforcements.
On this bank holiday Monday, hundreds of people, including many families with children, took their places on the sidewalks of Highland Park to participate in the traditional American Independence Day Parade, as in all United States.
As high school marching bands marched through the streets, a barrage of gunfire rang out. “We heard about 50 shots, we all thought it was fireworks,” a woman who witnessed the tragedy, using only her first name, Zoe, commented to CNN.
“At one point I saw a girl covered in blood, I had never seen that before,” she added, describing a “panic where people fell one after the other.”
She hid behind a trash can before being placed in a basement. On leaving she discovered “a battlefield”.
According to the initial findings of the investigation, the shooter shot from the roof of a shop that was accessible via an emergency staircase. “He was very discreet and difficult to see,” described Mr. Covelli. He fled immediately, but police found a “powerful” rifle.
Five people, all adults, died instantly and a sixth after being taken to hospital. At least 26 injured people, ranging in age from 8 to 85, were treated by emergency services and some, including at least one child, were in critical condition, according to a hospital official.
Celebrations were immediately suspended in several surrounding towns, which also closed their beaches and called on the population to exercise extreme caution.
“The Epidemic of Gun Violence”
The tragedy immediately revived debate about firearms, of which nearly 400 million are in circulation in the United States. “It is devastating that a party honoring America should be sabotaged by a typically American scourge,” said Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. “The only freedom we deny our citizens is to live without the daily fear of guns. »
For his part, Democratic President Joe Biden said he was “shocked” and vowed in a press release not to “give up the fight against the gun violence epidemic” after this new bloodbath.
The United States is still reeling from a series of shootings, including one at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 that killed 21 people, including 19 children.
The country is facing a rise in gun violence across the board, with more than 22,000 people killed since the beginning of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which includes suicides in its data.