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Terrified parents grabbed their children and fled a Fourth of July parade as a gunman opened fire above the crowd in a mass shooting that left at least six people dead and dozens injured.
Bone-chilling video footage obtained by DailyMail.com shows the chaotic scene in Highland Park, Illinois and the moment parade-goers are sent running for cover less than 15 minutes after the event began on Monday.
In cellphone footage shot from an upstairs apartment window above the parade route, the gunman first unleashed one long hail of bullets before stopping – presumably to reload – and then resuming fire.
Abandoned chairs, strollers, and blankets – once being used by families celebrating the holiday – were left behind in the chaos.
Witnesses recalled seeing bloodied bodies on the ground in the immediate aftermath of the shooting as they frantically fled from the area.
Robert E. Crimo III, identified as a ‘person of interest’ in the shooting, has been arrested after an hours-long manhunt, according the Highland Park Police Department said.
He is said to have opened fire from the roof of what was an outdoor outfitting store, picking off people in the crowd who at first confused the sound of gunshots with Independence Day fireworks.
Alexander Sandoval, 39-year-old construction contractor and resident of Highland Park, described how he put his son, little brother and dog in a dumpster in a frantic attempt to shield them from the spray of bullets.
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Terrified parents grabbed their children and fled a Fourth of July parade as a gunman opened fire above the crowd in a mass shooting that left at least six people dead and dozens injured
The suspect has been named as 22-year-old Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo III. He is from of the Highland Park area
Chairs remain abandoned at the scene of a mass shooting at a 4th of July celebration and parade in Highland Park, Illinois
The shooting unfolded less than 15 minutes after the start of the parade. Witnesses have now told how they saw children being picked off in the crowd.
Six people are dead including five adults who were killed at the parade. The sixth victim died in the hospital. At least 30 people were injured in the shooting.
Nicholas Toledo, a grandfather, was among those killed. His family confirmed his death to CBS.
‘When it started happening, I thought it was the Navy saluting the flag,’ Highland Park father Sandoval told the New York Times. ‘Then I grabbed my kid and we ran and tried to break a store window to get away from it.’
The desperate father also tried to break down a door, but did not succeed and had to keep running.
‘I was punching the door but couldn’t punch through it,’ he said.
‘I think the shooter stopped and reloaded, and that’s when I ran around the corner and put my son and little brother in a dumpster, and his dog. I asked someone to watch him because I had to go back for the rest of my family. Then when I ran back to look for them is when I saw people shot on the ground.’
Sandoval broke down in tears as he recalled seeing a police officer carrying away a little boy.
‘I saw a little boy who was shot being carried away,’ he said. ‘It was just terror.’
Horror on Independence Day: A police officer bows his head in grief next to abandoned strollers and chairs after a shooting that killed six people in Highland Park, Illinois
The bloody scene in Highland Park, Illinois, on Monday after a shooter opened fire on a Fourth of July parade shortly after 10am
The parade had only begun 14 minutes before the gunman opened fire from a rooftop along the route. The shooting caused a stampede of people who flocked into stores and cars. The parade was scheduled to last for an hour
Nineteen-year-old real estate student Rainan Eli, 19, saw the shooting unfold from the window of his apartment on Central Avenue and Second Street.
‘I was just sitting studying for some class I’m taking and watching the parade. I saw lots of people running and at first, everybody assumed it was fireworks being the Fourth,’ he told DailyMail.com.
Eli pulled out his cellphone and recorded heart-wrenching video of people running and seeking shelter as shots being fired could be heard in the background.
He said that two other residents of his apartment building came downstairs with him and gave the 15 to 20 people in the vestibule drinks.
Among those who were participating in the parade was a Hasidic Jewish band. One jarring video showed them slowly making their way down the parade route on a float while those ahead of them – suddenly aware of the danger – ran in the opposite direction.
Nicholas Toledo, a grandfather, was among those killed. His family confirmed his death to CBS. Police say five adults were killed at the scene of the parade. A sixth victim died in hospital. They have not yet been identified
Law enforcement officers look over a park near the scene of a mass shooting at a 4th of July celebration and parade in Highland Park, Illinois
Witnesses have described watching in horror as multiple people were killed by a gunman the parade in Highland Park, an affluent suburb of Chicago.
Gina Troiani said she was standing with her 5-year-old son and his daycare class on the parade route when she thought she heard fireworks.
But then someone started telling about a gunman and chaos erupted.
‘We just start running in the opposite direction,’ she said.
‘It was just sort of chaos. There were people that got separated from their families, looking for them. Others just dropped their wagons, grabbed their kids and started running.’
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float with coworkers and the group was prepared to turn onto the main route when she saw people running away from the area.
‘People started saying `There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there is a shooter” Glickman said.
‘So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there. I’m so freaked out,’ she said.
‘We can’t believe this happened in our little town.’
The parade on Monday in Highland Park was attended by dozens of locals who sat on the sidewalk cheering as bands marched past
Panicked parade goers at the scene on Monday. There were loud sounds from the crowd that some said were gunshots
‘All of a sudden everyone behind us started running. 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,’ a woman, who gave her name only as Zoe, told CNN.
Police say they recovered a ‘rifle’ at the scene but witnesses described multiple rounds being fired in quick succession which they say could only have come from a semi-automatic.
‘A rifle? No, no. It was an automatic weapon. It was pop, pop, pop, rifles don’t do that,’ she said.
Zoe, the woman who witnessed a little girl being shot in the head, said the event was for children and dogs who had just passed by when the gunman opened fire.
‘One man had been shot in the head, his ear, he was bleeding all over, and he was, like, I’m just happy that’s all happened. There was another girl that got escorted out that was shot in the leg. We were hiding in the basement for quite a while.
‘I mean, someone, 20 feet away, you know, someone — and then we went back to get our cars and we saw the streets were quite littered.
‘It looked like a battle zone and it’s disgusting.
‘It was — you know, everyone obviously remembers the Boston marathon massacre, like a happy marathon, and it’s just a happy day. It’s the Fourth of July.
‘It was the kid’s parade and dog parade. Little kids on bicycles and pets.
‘That’s who had just walked by,’ she said.
Witnesses described a ‘sickening’ scene and is it feared that children are among the dead.
‘I saw multiple lifeless bodies, people in a pool of blood. One father, who survived with his kids, tossed his son in a dumpster.
Miles Zaremsky, a 74-year-old lawyer who has lived in Highland Park since for 60 years, told DailyMail.com: ‘I witnessed the carnage. It was nice outside weather-wise, so I took a walk twenty minutes from my house.
Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of a mass shooting at a 4th of July celebration and parade in Highland Park
Law enforcement search in downtown Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, after a mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade, Monday, July 4, 2022
‘I heard multiple shots and I thought it was firecracker… but I heard multiple shots, 30-35 pops if I had to guess.
‘The crowd started stampeding. I had ever seen that before. I saw blood on people’s bodies.
‘Two or three people looked deceased to me[around 25 to 40 years of age]. It was absolutely disgusting and gut-wrenching and I was sick to my stomach.
‘I did see a little boy [covered in blood] in his parents’ arms who looked [pale]. They were yelling for medics.
Highland Park is around 30 miles north of the city of Chicago and is a quiet, suburban area
‘It’s surreal, it’s like out of a science fiction but it is real.
‘My wife and I have been living in Highland Park since 1966. It is a beautiful, charming, peaceful, law-abiding community.
‘If it can happen here, it can happen in any community in the United States.’
Highland Park is a close-knit community of about 30,000 people located on the shores of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago, with mansions and sprawling lakeside estates that have long drawn the rich and sometimes famous, including NBA legend Michael Jordan, who lived in the city for years when he played for the Chicago Bulls.
John Hughes filmed parts of several movies in the city, including ‘Ferris Bueller´s Day Off,’ ‘Sixteen Candles’ and ‘Weird Science.’
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement: ‘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.’