Wednesday, February 21

Highland Park Fourth of July parade mass shooting, 5 dead, 16 hospitalized


Five people were killed and 16 others wounded when a gunman started shooting 10 minutes after the Highland Park Fourth of July parade kicked off Monday morning, authorities said.

Shortly after noon, the Highland Park police said it remained an “active incident” and urged people to stay away.

A Chicago Sun-Times reporter saw blankets covering three bloodied bodies and five other people wounded and bloodied near the parade’s reviewing stand.

Several witnesses said they heard multiple shots fired. One witness said he counted more than 20 shots.

Miles Zaremski, a Highland Park resident, told the Sun-Times: “I heard 20 to 25 shots, which were in rapid succession. So it couldn’t have been just a handgun or a shotgun.”

Zaremski said he saw “people in that area that got shot,” including “a woman covered with blood. . . She did not survive.”

Police were telling people: “Everybody disperse, please. It is not safe to be here.”

As they fled the parade route on Central Street in downtown Highland Park, parade-goers left behind chairs, baby strollers and blankets as they sought cover, not knowing just what happened. Even as people ran, a klezmer band, seemingly unaware of the gunfire, continued to play.

Police from Highland Park and several other jurisdictions, including the Illnois State Police, some armed with rifles, were patrolling the area, looking for whoever fired the shots.

Adrienne Drell, a former Sun-Times reporter, said she was sitting on a curb along Central Avenue watching the parade when she saw members of the Highland Park High School marching band start to run.

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“Go to Sunset,” Drell said she heard the students shout, directing people to nearby Sunset Foods.

A man picked her up off the curb and urged her to get out, Drell said.

“There’s panic in the whole town,” she said. “Everyone is just stunned beyond belief.”

She ran across to a nearby parking lot with other people who had been watching the parade.

“It was a quiet, peaceful, lovely morning, people were enjoying the parade,” Drell said. “Within seconds, to have that peacefulness suddenly ripped apart, it’s scary. You can’t go anywhere, you can’t find peace. I think we are falling apart.”

Terrific parade-goers fled Highland Park's Fourth of July parade after shots were fired, leaving behind their belongings as they sought safety.

Terrific parade-goers fled Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade after shots were fired, leaving behind their belongings as they sought safety.

Eric Trotter, 37, who lives blocks from the shooting, echoed that sentiment.

“I felt shocked,” Trotter said. “How could this happen in a peaceful community like Highland Park.”

Gov. JB Pritzker said he was “closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park” and that the Illinois State Police were on the scene.

The parade had a heavy presence of police and fire vehicles.

Blood pooled at Port Clinton Square in Highland Park.

Blood pooled at Port Clinton Square in Highland Park.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.




chicago.suntimes.com

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