An active manhunt is underway for the gunman who opened fire with a rifle on attendees of a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, leaving six people dead and over 30 injured.
Highland Park Police Department Commander Chris O’Neill said the shooting occurred around 10:15 a.m. Monday near Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park.
O’Neill said the shooting was a random act of violence and an active search is underway for the suspect.
The suspect is described as a male white, approximately 18-20 years old, smaller build, with long black hair and possibly a blue or white t-shirt.
He is believed to have acted alone.
A rifle was recovered from the scene and a police perimeter around downtown Highland Park is in place.
O’Neill said two dozen people were transported to area hospitals and six people have died.
NorthShore Highland Park Hospital said they are treating 26 people and five people have been transported to NorthShore Evanston Hospital.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli said the gunman has not been identified and he reiterated the act appears to be “completely random.”
Residents are urged to stay inside and call the police if they see anything.
Federal agencies, including the FBI, are on the scene actively assisting, Covelli said. SWAT teams are still going door to door.
Covelli said “hundreds” of law enforcement officers have swarmed the area.
Anyone with active information regarding suspicious activity should call 911.
Anyone with delayed information on the shooting or those who have video are urged to contact the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI, police officials said.
Numerous attendees who were attending the Fourth of July parade reported hearing gunfire and people began running for safety. Some people said the shots sounded like fireworks.
Some attendees said the gunman was on the roof of Uncle Dan’s Camping and Travel, 621 Central Avenue.
Covelli confirmed that the gunman appears to have been shooting from a roof of a building.
Even though a rifle was recovered by police, the suspect is still considered armed and dangerous, Covelli added.
The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) was activated to the second alarm level, bringing over a dozen ambulances and other fire department units to the scene.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office is working to identify the deceased victims, whose ages were not immediately known.
A family and friends reunification site has been set up at the Highland Park Police Department, 1677 Old Deerfield Road.
The Lake County Major Crime Task Force, Highland Park Police Department and FBI are leading the investigation into the incident.
City officials said all Fourth of July activities have been canceled and that people should avoid downtown Highland Park.
Those in the downtown area were urged to shelter in place, Highland Park Communications Manager Amanda Civitello said.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said in an alert that they were assisting Highland Park police with the shooting and asked everyone to avoid the area so law enforcement and first responders could work the scene.
The Illinois State Police said on Twitter that they were assisting with the “active shooter situation” in Highland Park.
Officials for the Village of Deerfield, which is next to Highland Park, said on social media that their Family Days activities had been cleared and their parade canceled due to the shooting in Highland Park.
Several other nearby communities have also canceled their Fourth of July activities.
“Today, I ask all Illinoisans to pray for the families who have been devastated by the evil unleashed this morning in Highland Park, for those who have lost loved ones and for those who have been injured. I also ask that we all pray for our first responders at all levels of government who are actively working to bring the suspect into custody, and whose bravery undoubtedly saved innocent lives on the scene,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said.
“There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community. There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams, their futures. There are no words I can offer to lift the pain of those they leave behind,” Pritzker said.
“Please know that our state grieves with you, that MK and I grieve with you. But grief will not bring the victims back, and prayers alone will not put a stop to the terror of rampant gun violence in our country. I will stand firm with Illinoisans and Americans: we must – and we will – end this plague of gun violence,” he added.
“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,” Pritzker said.
“Today a shooter struck in Highland Park during the Independence Day parade. My campaign team and I were gathering at the start of the parade when shooting started. My team and I are safe and secure,” Congressman Brad Schneider said.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and in touch with the Mayor. 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!” Schneider said.