The FBI has set up a family assistance center for people affected by the Highland Park mass shooting. Meanwhile, Gov. JB Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation for Lake County.
A disaster proclamation grants the state the ability to expedite the use of state resources, personnel or equipment to help affected communities recover, according to the governor’s office.
“There are no words for the kind of evil that turns a community celebration into a tragedy,” Pritzker said Tuesday.
“As we mourn together, the State of Illinois will provide every available resource to Highland Park and surrounding communities in the days and weeks ahead as the community works to recover from this horrific tragedy,” he said.
The FBI Chicago Field Office announced a family assistance center opened Wednesday at the Highland Park High School, 433 Vine Avenue.
The FBI’s Victim Service Response Team will be working in conjunction with local, state, and federal aid groups to staff the center.
Services provided at the center include counseling, government aid assistance and financial assistance.
The hours will be Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and thereafter as needed.
“Victims are not just those physically injured by yesterday’s events, but also those experiencing emotional distress,” the FBI said in a statement.
All personal belongings left along the parade route are slowly being evaluated for investigative purposes. “Law enforcement requests the public’s patience as they evaluate what may be returned at this time,” the FBI said.
Personal belongings found on Central Avenue between Green Bay Road and 2nd Street will be available for pickup Wednesday afternoon at the center.
The mass shooting occurred around 10:14 a.m. Monday near 2nd 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, Highland Park Police Department Commander Chris O’Neill 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.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli said that Robert E. Crimo III, 21, of Highwood, pre-planned the attack for several weeks.
Crimo allegedly brought a high-powered rifle to the parade.
Covelli said that Crimo used a fire escape ladder to access the roof of a building on the parade route.
The man then allegedly opened fire on parade-goers, killing seven people and injuring over 45 people. Over 80 rounds were fired from the rifle.
Crimo, who was dressed as a woman, exited the roof, dropped the rifle and escaped with the fleeing crowd, according to Covelli.
Crimo walked to his mother’s Highland Park home, which is nearby the parade route, and borrowed her silver 2010 Honda Fit, Covelli said.
A person spotted the wanted Honda Fit as traveled southbound on Route 41 in North Chicago around 6:30 p.m. Monday as an intense manhunt was underway.
The person called 911 and a North Chicago police officer who was sitting at Route 41 and Buckley Road in North Chicago spotted Crimo drive past in the vehicle, Covelli and Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said.
A short pursuit ensued and it came to an end at Route 41 and Westleigh Road in Lake Forest.
Officers arrested Crimo and located a second rifle in his vehicle. The two rifles along with other guns seized were legally purchased by Crimo himself.
Crimo has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.
He remains held in the Lake County Jail after Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered him held without bond.
Lake County is the only county included in the disaster proclamation, which is effective immediately and will remain in effect for 30 days, according to the governor’s office.
“My community is so grateful for the emergency declaration and the support the State of Illinois has already given, especially the immediate response from the Illinois State Police,” said State Representative Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield).
“Our needs will grow and evolve over time, and we know state government has our back as we continue to confront the reality of this horrific attack,” Morgan said.
Lake County officials said that the county maintains a 24/7 crisis hotline where people can anonymously talk to crisis counselors by calling 847-377-8088.
On Tuesday, the White House said that President Joe Biden issued a proclamation ordering flags at half-staff to pay respect to the victims of the shooting.