Governor JB Pritzker said that he is furious that an “evil” gunman took the lives of six people and injured at least 39 others during a parade in Highland Park. He called for action on gun violence.
Pritzker spoke during a press conference Monday evening where he began by crediting the actions of law enforcement who ran toward the gunshots. “[…] lives were saved because the Highland Park Police courageously protected and served their community.”
Pritzker vowed to residents of Highland Park that the suspect would be brought to justice.
He also said that he spoke with President Joe Biden who pledged all support the White House could provide. “The President agrees with me: This madness must stop,” Pritzker said.
“There are no words for the kind of evil that shows up at a public celebration of freedom, hides on a roof and shoots innocent people with an assault rifle. There are no words I can offer to lessen the pain of those families who will no longer associate the 4th of July with celebration, but instead with grief,” Pritzker said.
“It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague. A day dedicated to freedom has put into stark relief the one freedom we as a nation refuse to uphold – the freedom of our fellow citizens to live without the daily fear of gun violence,” the governor said.
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said that Robert E. Crimo III, 22, is wanted as a person of interest in the shooting.
Jogmen said that Crimo is possibly driving a silver 2010 Honda Fit with Illinois registration DM80653.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli said Crimo, who lives in the area, is considered armed and dangerous.
Numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are working on apprehending Crimo.
The FBI released a photo Monday evening of Crimo and a surveillance photo showing the rear of his Honda.
Crimo has tattoos consisting of four tally marks with a line through them on his right cheek, red roses and green leaves on his neck, and cursive script above his left eyebrow, according to the FBI.
Crimo has ties to the Rockford, DeKalb and Elgin areas.
During a separate press conference, NorthShore University HealthSystem Dr. Brigham Temple said that Highland Park Hospital activated “code yellow,” which means mass casualty event, after receiving notification of the shooting Monday morning.
Within a short amount of time, numerous ambulances began showing up at the hospital with patients.
10 victims were transported to Highland Park Hospital by ambulance and 16 others were self-transported to the hospital, Temple said.
25 of the 26 victims at Highland Park Hospital sustained gunshot wounds and had varying conditions.
19 of the 25 gunshot victims have since been treated and discharged, Temple said. Only two patients remain at Highland Park Hospital after several were transferred to other hospitals.
Temple said the ages of the victims ranged from eight to 85 years old. At least four or five children sustained gunshot wounds.
One of the children was critically injured and underwent surgery. That child was then flown to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
Highland Park Fire Chief Joe Schrage said that in addition to the 26 patients at Highland Park Hospital, six patients were transported to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and seven patients were transported to Evanston Hospital, bringing the total number injured to at least 39.
Highland Park Police Department Commander Chris O’Neill said the shooting occurred around 10:14 a.m. Monday near Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park.
An Independence Day parade was in progress on the street when police officers, who were standing by at the event, heard gunfire, O’Neill said.
Police attempted to locate the source of the shooting and found numerous people shot.
A coordinated response with the fire department was initiated and a police perimeter was set up, O’Neill said.
“Firearm evidence,” including a rifle, was located on a rooftop of a business and secured, he said.
O’Neill said the shooting was a random act of violence and an active search is still underway for the suspect.
The suspect is believed to have acted alone. O’Neill said six people have died so far.
Covelli said hospitals throughout Lake and Cook counties received patients from the incident, with conditions ranging from critical to serious.
Covelli said the shooting was “completely random.”
Law enforcement is “aggressively looking” for the suspect and anyone who took video or photos from the parade is asked to review them and send them to police.
Business owners in the area are also urged to review their security camera footage.
Covelli said initial indications show the suspect was “discreet” and hard to see on the roof of a business when he opened fire using a high-powered rifle.
Five victims died at the scene and the sixth deceased victim died at a hospital, Covelli said, adding it is a “very sad day.”
There were a number of “heroic actions” by members of the community, police and paramedics who rushed in immediately following the shooting to provide aid to the injured, Covelli added.
Residents have been urged to stay inside and call the police if they see anything as police continued their manhunt for the suspect into Monday evening.
Federal agencies, including the FBI, are on the scene actively assisting, Covelli said. SWAT teams are going door to door in the area.
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.
Even though a rifle was recovered by police, the suspect is still considered armed and dangerous, Covelli said.
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.
The five who died at the scene were all adults, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said. The age of the sixth victim who died at the hospital was not 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 previously told 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 also canceled their Fourth of July activities.
Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart said she was “without words to respond to, yet again, another act of senseless violence, that this time has occurred right here in Lake County.”
“My heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones, the Highland Park community, and its leadership, and to those who responded today and continue to do so, to this horrific event. Lake County and our partnering agencies stand with and beside you through it all to provide the support that is needed,” Hart said.
Congressman Brad Schneider said he and his campaign team were gathering at the start of the parade when the shooting started.
“My team and I are safe and secure,” 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!” he added.
Lake County Board member Paul Frank, whose district covers most of Highland Park, said he was “horrified by this inhumane violence.”
“This parade is a family event and supposed to be a celebration. Today our community is mourning and in shock. I pray for the victims; their families and that our country will find the strength to protect our safety. I’m grateful for the offers of support from all our community leaders and fellow county board members who have reached out,” Frank said.