Federal and state law enforcement officials are conducting a full-scale manhunt for the mass shooter who killed at least six people and wounded 24 others at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park on Monday.
“No indication he’s barricaded anywhere or has any hostages,” said Lake County Illinois Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Covelli. “Investigators are very, very quickly working to identify who this person is and figure out where he’s at.”
Authorities said the shooter opened fire from the roof of a building along the parade route around 10: 15 a.m., when the parade was about three-quarters through. As the shots rang out, hundreds of parade marchers and attendees fled in a state of fear and confusion.
Many of those fleeing abandoned personal items along the parade route. Videos of the scenes shared online showed dozens of empty baby carriages, half-eaten food, children’s bikes and lawn chairs left behind in haste.
“All of a sudden everyone behind us started running,” a witness told CNN. “I looked back, probably 20 feet away from me, I saw a girl shot and killed. I saw her die. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Law enforcement officials say the shooter is a male in his early-to-mid 20s. The death toll could grow as roughly 24 individuals are wounded and receiving medical care.
Police have not released any information about the victims or the shooter. Law enforcement officials did confirm that they found a rifle on a nearby rooftop that they suspect was one of the weapons used by the perpetrator in the deadly attack.
The shooting occurred at a spot on the parade route where many residents had staked out prime viewing points early in the day for the annual celebration.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said “several of the deceased victims” died at the scene and one was taken to a hospital and died there.
Mr. Covelli said at a news conference that the gunman apparently used a “high-powered rifle” to fire from a spot atop a building where he was “very difficult to see.” He said the rifle was recovered at the scene.
“Very random, very intentional and a very sad day,” Covelli said.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said the violence “has shaken us to our core,” adding, “On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us.”
SEE ALSO: 6 dead, 24 wounded in shooting at Chicago-area July 4 parade, suspect at large
“There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community,” said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat.
The suspect fled the scene, according to law enforcement, and remains at large. The Illinois State Police is conducting a manhunt with the help of the FBI.
The shooting comes less than two weeks after President Biden signed a bipartisan gun control bill into law.
The measure, which garnered bipartisan support in Congress, boosted funding for school security and mental health treatment. It also tightened the background check system for gun purchases by including domestic violence and juvenile records.
The proposal further subsidizes states that adopt red flag laws, which allow courts to confiscate firearms from individuals deemed a threat, or set up other crisis intervention programs.
“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “There is much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”
• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.