The FBI and local law enforcement agencies had earlier searched for him as a “person of interest” in the alleged shooting of multiple individuals at the Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
The capture ended an intense manhunt across the Chicagoland area after the shooting upended Independence Day festivities in cities throughout the region.
Parade enthusiasts along Central Avenue basked in the sunshine during a delightful Fourth of July procession, while the gunfire in Highland Park, located approximately 25 miles north of Chicago, commenced shortly after 10 a.M. CT.
Prior to this, Chris O’Neill, the police commander, mentioned that there was evidence of a firearm discovered on the rooftop of a business close to the shooting incident. Christopher Covelli, the spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, stated that the assailant utilized a ladder that was affixed to the building’s wall in an alley in order to gain access to the roof.
According to Covelli, the gun was a “high-caliber rifle” and the attack seemed to be “unpredictable” and “deliberate.”
Authorities are currently working on tracing the weapon in order to determine both its purchaser and its origins, as stated by Kim Nerheim, the spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Covelli told reporters that SWAT members and other officers have been evacuating people from buildings within a certain radius of the shooting.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek confirmed that the individuals who perished at the location were all adults. Additionally, she mentioned that one individual passed away at a medical facility, although she lacked further details regarding this particular victim.
Highland Park Fire Chief Joe Schrage stated that he conveyed 23 individuals from his department to hospitals, while other victims were transported in police cars or the personal vehicles of bystanders.
As per Temple, four or five individuals were adolescents – the individuals varied in age from 8 years old to 85 years old, as stated by Dr. Brigham Temple, the medical director of the NorthShore University Health System. A grand total of 26 individuals were admitted to Highland Park Hospital.
He mentioned that there were bullet injuries to limbs as well as internal areas of the bodies. He mentioned that out of the 25 individuals injured by gunfire, 19 received medical attention and have already been released.
On Monday afternoon, the streets of Highland Park were patrolled by heavily armed officers, with sniper rifles positioned on rooftops. This led to a significant police presence, consisting of local, state, and federal officers, including the FBI, causing numerous parade attendees to hastily leave.
Zoe Pawelczak, who attended the Independence Day parade with her father, stated that at first, the crowd mistook the lineup of pops for fireworks.
She stated, “I witnessed a young woman being shot and fatally wounded.” I glanced behind me, approximately 20 feet in the distance. Unexpectedly, a wave of people behind us commenced sprinting,” she recounted. I firmly grasped my father’s hand and joined the frantic escape. At that moment, I had a sense that something was amiss.
Another girl, who had been shot in the leg, said that his face was covered in blood and that she saw someone who had been shot in the ear. The police eventually escorted them back to their car and moved them into a sporting goods store until they hid behind a dumpster for about an hour.
“It appeared as though a war had taken place, and it’s repulsive. It’s truly repulsive,” she expressed.
According to information gathered by the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that monitors such occurrences, this incident signifies at least the 308th mass shooting in the United States in the current year. Excluding the perpetrator, the organization defines a mass shooting as an event where four or more individuals are shot.
As per the Gun Violence Archive, within Richmond, Virginia; Chicago, and Highland Park, there have been a total of 11 instances of mass shootings during the initial four days of July, which includes a count of three incidents solely on July 4.
The carnage is punctuated by a bloody attack at a New York supermarket, where an 18-year-old racist killed 10 people, including teachers and students who left that Texas school after another shooting, and also by an attack in the summer and spring that left 19 dead.
In the wake of those massacres, President Joe Biden just signed into law the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades, marking a significant bipartisan breakthrough on one of the most contentious policy issues in Washington.
Eyewitnesses claim that gunfire triggered a panic
Witnesses at the scene who spoke to CNN described a peaceful parade pierced by the sudden ring of gunfire and ensuing chaos.
Miles Zaremski said that he heard what he believed to be 30 to 20 gunshots in two consecutive spurts of gunfire, shortly after the start of the parade at around 10:20 a.M. On CT, as he told CNN that he saw a number of bloodied people on the chaotic scene described and on the ground.
A witness, Hugo Aguilera, captured a video showing a heavy police presence along the parade route. The aerial footage from the WLS affiliate CNN displays abandoned lawn chairs on the sidewalk and people gathered on the grassy area. The video also captures a police car with sirens and an ambulance turning around the parade route.
Warren Fried, who attended the parade with his 7-year-old twins and wife, witnessed a multitude of gunshots. Shortly after, he saw an ambulance and police pass by as he and his family ran away from the danger, yelling.
“Individuals were concealing, children were on the roads searching for their guardians, simply in a condition of astonishment,” he expressed.
US Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat who represents the area, informed CNN that he was instructed to take a detour and was in the process of reaching Highland Park when the gunshots occurred.
He mentioned, “Therefore, I halted and extended the invitation for them to utilize my mobile device. Numerous vehicles were in motion, so I assisted in guiding the flow of traffic momentarily.” While I was proceeding, I encountered a gathering of young children who were attempting to contact their guardians to notify them of their safety. Instantly, everyone dispersed and sprinted away.
Jeff Leon, 57, informed CNN that he only became aware of the incident when he witnessed the response of the police officers. According to him, the gunshots resembled the sound of “firecrackers in a garbage can.”
Leon said, “I saw some people falling and the police started reacting.” “We just took off. We folded into the car next to us, hiding behind the cars, and, you know, we made our way into our destination.”
Jose Alamar, an employee at a nearby gas station, said that approximately 20 people ran into the gas station and took shelter before the shooting began.
Based on data from the US Census, the residential area known as Highland Park is home to approximately 30,000 individuals and boasts a per capita income of around $90,000, which is nearly three times higher than the national average.
The city announced that the July 4th parade on its website would showcase floats, marching bands, novelty groups, community entries, and other unique forms of entertainment. The parade was planned to commence at 10 a.M. CT at the intersection of Laurel and St. Johns Avenues, proceeding north on St. Johns Avenue, then turning west on Central Avenue, and finally concluding at Sunset Park, according to the city.
The gunfire led to the cancellation of July 4th processions in neighboring suburbs, such as Deerfield and Evanston. Additional activities in close-by towns were also called off.
The Chicago White Sox will observe a moment of silence before their home game but have canceled their postgame fireworks.
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