Police arrest suspect after gunman kills six at US July 4 parade

Location of Highland Park, Illinois, where a shooter opened fire during a parade to mark US Independence Day

Police arrested a suspect Monday after a mass shooting left six dead at a US Independence Day parade in a wealthy Chicago suburb, casting a dark shadow over the country’s most patriotic holiday. 

Robert Crimo, 22, was identified as a “person of interest” and became the target of a massive manhunt across the town of Highland Park in Illinois, where a rooftop gunman with a high-powered rifle turned a family-focused July 4 parade celebration into a scene of death and trauma.

Emergency officials said around two dozen people, including children, were treated for gunshot injuries, with some in critical condition.

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Earlier, police had warned that he was armed and “very dangerous.”

The shooting is part of a wave of gun violence plaguing the United States, where approximately 40,000 deaths a year are caused by firearms, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

In another July 4 shooting, two police officers were wounded when they came under fire during a fireworks display in Philadelphia, major US news outlets reported.

In Highland Park, Emily Prazak, who marched in the parade, described the mayhem.

She added: “This is the day that we celebrate our country. This is also a day that our freedom got stolen from us — because many of us residents here, in this building even, we’re all locked down.”

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Don Johnson, who attended the parade, said he initially thought the gunshots were a car backfiring.

“I’ve seen scenes like this over and over again on the TV and in different communities, and didn’t think it was going to happen here ever,” he said.

“It sounds like spectators were targeted… So, very random, very intentional and very sad,” said Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli.

Dr Brigham Temple of Highland Park Hospital, where most of the victims were taken, said it had received 25 people with gunshot wounds aged eight to 85.

Police said the shooter used a “high-powered rifle,” and “firearm evidence” had been located on the rooftop of a nearby business.

US media reported that Crimo’s online postings included violent content that alluded to guns and shootings. His YouTube and other social media accounts were not viewable Monday night.

A voice-over says “I need to just do it.”

– 309 mass shootings so far –

“I’m not going to give up,” he said.

The deeply divisive debate over gun control was reignited by two massacres in May that saw 10 Black supermarket shoppers gunned down in upstate New York and 21 people, mostly young children, slain at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

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