After the bloody act of violence that killed at least six people at a US National Day parade near Chicago, the police arrested the suspected shooter. US broadcasters reported on Monday evening (local time), citing the local police, that the 22-year-old had been arrested.
Earlier, the US federal police FBI said they were looking for the accused of “multiple homicides” at the US Independence Day parade in Highland Park – a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.
The man is suspected of having opened fire during the parade on Monday morning, killing at least six people. About two dozen injured were taken to hospitals, police said.
A spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said the perpetrator was believed to have fired indiscriminately at the crowd from the roof of a commercial building. A “powerful rifle” was found at the crime scene. The background of the crime was initially unknown.
A doctor at a Highland Park hospital said it had treated patients aged 8 to 85 with gunshot wounds, including several children. Investigators only managed to identify a suspect hours after the deadly shots were fired. The police warned that the man was considered armed and dangerous and that the population should be vigilant.
The parade began on Monday morning (local time/5:00 p.m. CEST). A short time later the first shots were fired. “At 10:14 am this morning, our community was terrorized by an act of violence that shocked us deeply,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. Chief Police Officer at the scene, Chris O’Neill, said police and rescue workers were present at the parade and responded immediately.
An eyewitness told WGN that he saw a lone armed gunman “crouching and advancing in a methodical, quasi-military manner.” Fourth of July celebrations have been suspended in Highland Park and surrounding communities.
Mayor Rotering asked people to avoid the city center. The administration of the small town with around 30,000 inhabitants said: “Numerous police officers are on duty and have cordoned off downtown Highland Park.”
Illinois House Representative Brad Schneider was in town when the shooting rang out. “My team and I had just met at the beginning of the parade when the shots were fired,” Schneider said on Twitter after he fled to safety.
The US has long struggled with massive levels of gun violence. At the end of May, an 18-year-old gunman massacred a Texas elementary school. He had killed 19 children and 2 teachers in the small town of Uvalde at the end of May before he was shot dead by the police.
Just over a week earlier, an 18-year-old had shot ten people in Buffalo, Texas, and investigators assume a racist motive.
The crimes had rekindled the discussion about stricter gun laws in the USA. Firearms are relatively easy to obtain in the United States. According to the CDC, nearly 20,000 people were shot nationwide in 2020 – more than 50 a day.
US President Joe Biden said he was “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has once again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.” His statement said: “I will not give up the fight against the epidemic of gun violence.”
Biden and his Democrats have long called for tougher gun laws. Far-reaching reforms repeatedly fail due to opposition from Republicans in Congress and the influence of the powerful gun lobby organization NRA.
Last month, buoyed by the Texas shootings and other bloody crimes, Congress passed a bipartisan gun control law, but it fell far short of Biden’s proposed reforms. Experts rated the tightening of gun laws as the most important since the mid-1990s. In terms of content, however, the law is only a non-partisan minimal compromise that critics have accused of being completely inadequate.