at least six dead and 26 injured in shooting during July 4th parade

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At least six people were killed and 26 injured in a shooting Monday during a parade organized on the occasion of the American national day in a Chicago suburb, announced the local authorities. The suspect is still at large.

A shooting killed at least six people Monday, July 4, in Highland Park near Chicago, in the north of the United States, during a parade for American Independence Day, according to the police. At least 26 injured, aged 8 to 85, were taken care of by the emergency services, said a hospital official.

“As we gathered to celebrate our freedom, we must mourn the tragic loss of life and overcome our terror,” city mayor Nancy Rotering said at a press conference.

Hundreds of police officers remained deployed at the end of the afternoon in this wealthy city of 30,000 inhabitants, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, to find the author of the shots. A “powerful” rifle was quickly found by police, but the shooter, “considered armed and dangerous” remains at large, local police chief Chris O’Neill said.

Police have identified a suspect, Robert C., known as “Bobby”, a 22-year-old white man “from the area”. He has “long black hair, a small build, and a white or blue t-shirt,” said Chris O’Neill, recommending that the population stay under cover until his arrest. The authorities suspect him of driving a gray Honda.

The suspect fired from the roof of a business, accessible by a fire escape. “He was very low-key and hard to see,” said county police spokesman Christopher Covelli.

“Panic throughout the city”

The shooting broke out as hundreds of people gathered to watch the traditional July 4th parade, which celebrates the United States’ declaration of independence in 1776.

On images of the city broadcast on television channels, we see the police driving through empty streets, where the sidewalks are covered with camping chairs abandoned in panic.

A witness, quoted by the local channel WGN, reported seeing a man armed with a rifle open fire in the direction of the public. “He was on the ground and was crawling in a methodical, almost military way,” said the man named Michael. The crowd threw themselves to the ground before running away as pools of blood formed, he added.

Adrienne Drell was watching a high school marching band when a man sounded the alarm. “It was panic all over the city,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times. “We are totally stunned.”

The parade was immediately suspended and festivities were canceled in several nearby towns.

The United States is still reeling from a series of shootings, including one at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24 that left 21 people dead, including 19 children.

The country is more generally facing an increase in gun violence with more than 22,000 people killed since the start of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which incorporates suicides into its data.

On Monday, Joe Biden said he was “shocked” by this new shooting, promising in a press release to “not give up the fight against the epidemic of gun violence”.

With AFP and Reuters

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