HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – Gunfire and chaos shattered a Fourth of July parade in this Chicago suburb as onlookers fled in terror minutes after the event began at 10 am local time.
Video from the scene appears to show dozens of people running from the scene as music continues to play.
“Police are responding to an incident in downtown Highland Park,” the city said in a Facebook post. “Fourth Fest has been cancelled.”
The city asked residents to avoid the downtown area and said more information would be shared as it becomes available. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., was at the parade.
“My campaign team and I were gathering at the start of the parade when the shooting started,” Schneider said on Twitter. “My team and I are safe and secure. We are monitoring the situation closely.”
The Lake County Sheriff’s office tweeted that it was “assisting Highland Park Police with a shooting in the area of the Independence Day parade route.”
The Chicago Sun-Times said multiple people were shot and that a reporter saw five people bloodied. A blanket was covering one person, the media outlet said, adding that police were patrolling the area with rifles.
Sirens wailed on the 88-degree, overcast day as law enforcement vehicles flew past residential streets and residents stood anxiously on driveways and sidewalks.
Manuel Rangel, 28, said he saw dozens of people running past his house Monday morning, away from the parade area downtown.
“They looked scared. They were panicking,” he told USA TODAY. “You never see those things here. It’s a quiet place.”
Adrienne Drell told the Sun-Times she was sitting on a curb along Central Avenue watching the parade when she saw members of the Highland Park High School marching band starting running away. She ran to a nearby parking lot where other parade viewers had gathered.
“It was a quiet, peaceful, lovely morning, people were enjoying the parade,” Drell told the Sun-Times. “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.”
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, told the Associated Press 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 a shooter,’” Glickman said. “So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.”
She didn’t hear any noises or see anyone who appeared to be injured.
“I’m so freaked out,” she said. “It’s just so sad.”
Highland Park is about 30 miles north of Chicago. The Village of Deerfield, three miles west of Highland Park, tweeted that “due to a shooting in Highland Park, Family Days activities at Jewett Park have been cleared and the parade is canceled. Please share that the parade activities are canceled with your family and friends.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism