What do we know about the July 4th massacre in Highland Park, near Chicago?

Police have arrested the suspect in the gun shooting that left at least six dead and 26 injured on Monday during a parade near Chicago for the US National Day of July 4. 20 minutes takes stock of this tragedy, in a country still reeling from a recent series of mass murders with firearms, which took place in Highland Park, in the north of the United States.

What happened Monday in Chicago at the American Independence Day Parade. ?

On this holiday Monday, hundreds of people, including many families with children, took their places on the sidewalks of Highland Park to attend, as in all the United States, the traditional American Independence Day parade. As high school marching bands marched through the streets, a flurry of gunfire rang out around 10:15 a.m.

Armed with a powerful rifle, Robert – known as “Bobby” – Crimo fired into the crowd gathered in this wealthy suburban town of 30,000 inhabitants, located on the shores of Lake Michigan. According to the first elements of the investigation, the 22-year-old man fired from the roof of a business, accessible by an emergency staircase. “He was very low-key and hard to see,” said county police spokesman Christopher Covelli.

Five people, all adults, died on the spot and a sixth after being transferred to hospital. At least 26 injured, aged 8 to 85, were taken care of by the emergency services and some, including at least one child, were in critical condition, according to a hospital official. “We heard about 50 shots, we all thought they were fireworks,” commented on CNN Zoe, a woman who witnessed the tragedy. Describing the “panic, with people falling one after another”, she said she hid behind a trash can before taking shelter in a basement. As she left, she said she discovered “a battlefield”.

Who is the suspect, Robert – known as “Bobby” – Crimo?

Police quickly identified the suspect. This is Robert – known as “Bobby” – Crimo, 22 years old and “from the region”. The young man fled, but his “powerful” rifle was found on the spot by the police.

The police immediately released the photo of the diaphanous young man, with an emaciated and tattooed face. A spokesman, Christopher Covelli, immediately warned: the individual was “considered armed and very dangerous”.

Robert Crimo, 22, author of the shooting that killed at least six people and injured 26 on Monday during a parade near Chicago on July 4, 2022.
Robert Crimo, 22, author of the shooting that left at least six people dead and 26 injured on Monday during a parade near Chicago on July 4, 2022. – City of Highland Park / AFP

Robert – known as “Bobby” – Crimo had several pages on the Internet, on which he was presented as a musician from Chicago nicknamed “Awake the rapper”. According to an American media, his publications were sometimes violent and made reference to weapons and shootings. His accounts on YouTube and other social networks were not available on Monday evening.

According to the local newspaper Chicago Grandstand, a video posted eight months ago shows her as a young man in a bedroom and classroom with posters of a shooter and people being shot at. An audio commentary accompanies it: “I just need to do this”, then “it’s my destiny. Everything led me to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself”.

How was the suspect arrested?

Monday evening, after the tragedy, hundreds of police went in search of the suspect. The authorities, who deployed a huge security device with armored vehicles and federal reinforcements, suspected him of driving a gray Honda. It was finally after a brief car chase that Robert Crimo was arrested “without incident”, Lou Jogmen, Highland Park police chief, told reporters on Monday evening.

Is the Philadelphia attack related to the Highland Park attack?

The festivities were immediately suspended in several towns around Highland Park, which also closed their beaches and called on the population to be extremely careful. A shooting, however, occurred during a fireworks display in Philadelphia. Two police officers were shot and injured, said CBS News, which broadcast video filmed from a skyscraper showing a crowd hurriedly dispersing.

The circumstances of this incident are not known at this stage and there is no evidence to link it to the Highland Park massacre. The local police could not be contacted immediately.

How did the authorities and President Joe Biden react?

The tragedy immediately revived the debate on firearms, of which nearly 400 million are in circulation in the United States. “It’s damning that a celebration in honor of America is sabotaged by a quintessentially American scourge,” said Illinois Democratic Governor JB Pritzker. The only freedom we deny our citizens is to live without the daily fear of guns. »

Saying he was “shocked”, Democratic President Joe Biden for his part promised in a press release to “not give up the fight against the epidemic of gun violence” after this new bloodbath.

The United States is still reeling from a series of killings, including one in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 21 people, including 19 children on May 24. The country is more generally facing an increase in gun violence, with more than 22,400 people killed since the start of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which includes suicides in its data.

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