A gunman perched on a rooftop opened fire on families waving flags and children riding bikes at a 4th of July parade on Monday, killing six and wounding more than 36 in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.
The gunman climbed to the roof of a business using a ladder in an alley, police said. The attack turned a civic display of patriotism into a scene of panicked mayhem.
Hours later, police announced that they had a suspect in custody after 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III surrendered to authorities.
The victims of the Highland Park shooting
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it received confirmation of an unspecified number of Jewish victims from the local community, with media reports specifying two.
One of the Jewish victims was identified as Jacki Sundheim by the North Shore Congregation Israel, a Reform synagogue in Glencoe, Illinois, just a few kilometers from Highland Park.
"Jacki was a lifelong congregant of NSCI and a cherished member of NSCI’s staff team for decades. Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all," the synagogue wrote on its site.
ZAKA International said that there was one elderly Jewish man killed in the shooting and further Jewish community members were injured. The Midwest Israeli Consulate is in contact with authorities and the Jewish community.
At least one of those killed was a Mexican national, a senior Mexican Foreign Ministry official said on Twitter.
According to Chabad, Highland Park has a large Jewish community, and the Chabad center is reportedly four blocks away from the site of the shooting.
What happened on July 4th?
The main street in Highland Park is now a crime scene spanning blocks, strewn with abandoned chairs and flags. Witnesses came back to retrieve strollers and other items later on Monday but were told they could not go beyond the police tape.
"It sounded like fireworks going off," said retired doctor Richard Kaufman, who was standing across the street from where the gunman opened fire, adding that he heard about 200 shots.
"It was pandemonium," he said. "People were covered in blood tripping over each other.”
"The City mourns the tragic loss and injury of those who came to celebrate with us today."City of Highland Park
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."
Eye witness reports of a horrific scene
A reporter for the Chicago Sun Times said that they had seen blankets placed over bloodied bodies.
Video allegedly from the scene shows parade attendees fleeing when the shots were fired. A klezmer band is heard playing at the time of the shooting.
"Today a shooter struck in Highland Park during the Independence Day parade," Congressman Brad Schneider said. "My campaign team and I were gathering at the start of the parade when the shooting started."
A town in mourning
The Chicago Jewish Community Relations Council, an umbrella organization for over 40 Jewish groups in Chicago, tweeted saying, "What happens in one neighborhood affects our entire community."
What happens in one neighborhood affects our entire community. pic.twitter.com/NxIff7kW9j— ChicagoJCRC (@ChicagoJCRC) July 4, 2022
"Devastated to hear the news from Highland Park, where a day of celebration became a day of tragedy," said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid late Monday night. "My thoughts are with the families of the victims and all the American people. Today as always, Israel stands with our American friends."
שוחחתי כעת עם הקונסול הכללי של ישראל בשיקגו, ינעם כהן, ושמעתי ממנו פרטים ראשונים על אירוע הירי הטרגי במהלך צעדת יום העצמאות של ארה"ב, באילנוי. יום החג הפך לטרגדיה. מחשבותיי עם משפחות הקורבנות וכל העם האמריקני. היום, כמו תמיד, ישראל עומדת לצד ארה"ב.— יאיר לפיד - Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) July 4, 2022
"I am following the horrible news from Highland Park." said Yinam Cohen, Israeli consul general to the US midwest. "Our hearts and prayers are with the members of the community. We thank the local authorities for their immediate response."
"The City mourns the tragic loss and injury of those who came to celebrate with us today," said the Highland Park municipality. "We share in the grief of all mourning the loss of a loved one, and our hearts go out to everyone impacted by today's events."
"July 4th Independence Day festivities turned into a day of horror. Our hearts are in the Midwest this morning with our American friends in Highland Park. We mourn the tragic and senseless loss of life, and we will always stand with you," Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) tweeted.
"We stand with our brothers and sisters in Highland Park who are experiencing one of the most difficult days of their lives," Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich tweeted.
"The people of Israel stand with, and send the deepest condolences to the entire American nation, to the people of Chicago and to the Jewish community," he wrote.
This is a developing story.