5 dead, 16 hurt in shooting along July Fourth parade route north of Chicago

HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois — Five people were killed and 16 injured in a shooting at a Fourth of July parade in a suburb of Chicago Monday, in what law enforcement officials are calling an active shooter situation, officials said.

The shooter was reported to still be active just after noon.

Sources said the person could be shooting from atop a high building.

The parade route was near Central Avenue and Second Street.

The parade was stopped about 10 minutes after it kicked off at 10 a.m. when shots were fired, striking an unknown number of parade-goers and sending hundreds of people running for safety.

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.

Some of the injured were taken to Highland Park hospital for treatment.

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

As they fled the parade route, parade-goers left behind chairs, baby strollers and blankets as they sought cover, not knowing just what happened.

One witness said “it looked like a war zone” and he was almost trampled in the stampede after the shots were fired.

“This should not happen in our country,” Paul Chesler said.

State Sen. Julie Morrison said she was about a block away from the shooting.

“We heard gunshots that I kind of thought it was fireworks, then all of a sudden this wave of people starts running back towards us screaming, crying, hysterical, carrying their kids,” Morrison said.

Police were patrolling the area with rifles.

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

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider said he and his campaign team were gathering at the start of the parade when the shooting began.

“My team and I are safe and secure,” he said. “Hearing of loss of life and others injured. My condolences to the family and loved ones; my prayers for the injured and for my community; and my commitment to do everything I can to make our children, our towns, our nation safer. Enough is enough!”

Highland Park officials asked residents to avoid the city’s downtown area as police responded “to an incident.”

Lake Shore Country Club is also locked down.

The city of Highland Park provided very little information on the incident in a Facebook post just before 10:45 a.m., only saying the city’s Fourth Fest had been canceled.

The village of Deerfield tweeted at 10:50 a.m. that there had been a shooting in Highland Park, and Deerfield’s Family Days at Jewett Park was canceled.

Evanston canceled its parade and fireworks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, today’s Skokie Fourth of July Parade has been canceled due to the shooting incident at the Highland Park Fourth of July Parade. The Skokie community grieves with our neighbors in Highland Park,” Skokie officials said. “A decision will be made later today regarding tonight’s fireworks at Niles West High School.”

Morton Grove also canceled its parade.

Gov. JB Pritzker tweeted, “My staff and I are closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park. State police are on the scene and we have made all state resources available to the community. We will continue working with local officials to help those affected.”

“All remaining Northbrook 4th of July activities, including the bike parade, mile-long parade, and fireworks show have been canceled following the news of a shooting in Highland Park earlier today. Our thoughts are with our Highland Park neighbors,” the village said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a statement, saying, “The tragedy unfolding in Highland Park is devastating. I have been in contact with Mayor Rotering and have offered our support, and the Chicago Police Department is providing assistance. We grieve with the families of the deceased and injured as well as the entire Highland Park community. Law enforcement is working hard to bring the shooter into custody. If anyone has information, we encourage them to call 911 and report what you know.”

Highland Park had a number of Fourth of July events scheduled for Monday.

Illinois State Police were on the scene, as well. They called the incident an “active shoot situation” just before 11:25 a.m.

The FBI is responding.

Sun-Times Media contributed to this report.

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