What we know about the Highland Park shooting

A gunman in Highland Park, Illinois, killed seven people and injured dozens more on a July Fourth parade route on Monday, setting off a manhunt that paralyzed the Chicago region before a suspect was apprehended by police later in the day.

The wounded ranged from ages 8 to 85. All the deceased victims were adults, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said Tuesday. Four of them died at the scene, she said.
The suspect, 21-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, was taken into custody after a tip from “an alert member of the community” helped police track him down in his mother’s vehicle and detained him during a traffic stop. He was unharmed.
      Firearm evidence was found on the rooftop of a business near the shooting, Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill said on Monday. The gunman used a ladder attached to the wall of the building from an alley to access the roof, said Christopher Covelli, spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.
        The suspect allegedly fired more than 70 rounds during what Covelli on Tuesday initially described as a “completely random” attack — one that law enforcement now believes but one that the suspect spent weeks planning and sought to escape without capture by dressing up as a woman to conceal his identity.
          There have been more than 300 mass shootings in less than 200 days, according to data compiled by the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, including a racist killing spree in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 dead, and the massacre of 19 young students and two teachers at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
          Here is what we know about the deadly attack in Illinois so far:

          The shooting

          The deadly gunfire erupted a little after 10 a.m. local time along a parade route on the town’s Central Avenue.
          Police say the suspected shooter mounted the rooftop of a building and used a “high-powered rifle” — described by Covelli as “similar to an AR-15” — to begin his assault, about 20 minutes after the procession began. Some bystanders said they initially thought the sound of the gunshots were from fireworks.
          But soon, the crowds began to flee the scene, leaving behind their belongings — a mishmash of chairs, strollers and other Fourth of July-branded American flag signage.
          Eventually, after what eyewitnesses described as a desperate, chaotic race to safety, a total of 26 patients were received at Highland Park Hospital, per Dr. Brigham Temple, medical director of the NorthShore University Health System.
          Temple said 19 of 25 gunshot victims have since been discharged.

          The victims

          Details continue to emerge about the people killed during the attack.
          Jacki Sundheim was identified as one of the seven victims in a statement released by her synagogue.
          The North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois, said that Sundheim was a lifelong congregant and a member of staff, having worked as a preschool teacher and events coordinator.
          “There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones,” the statement said. “We know you join us in the deepest prayer that Jacki’s soul will be bound up in the shelter of God’s wings and her family will somehow find comfort and consolation amidst this boundless grief.”
          The coroner’s statement said she was 63.
          The death of Nicolas Toledo, 78, was confirmed on Tuesday by Mexican officials. He was the father of eight children, six of whom live in the United States. One of Toledo’s children was injured in the shooting, as were two other family members.
          One of Toledo’s granddaughters, Kimberly Rangel, told CNN affiliate WBBM that her grandfather loved to go fishing, paint and take walks with his family in the park.
          Another grandchild, Xochil Toledo, has started a verified GoFundMe with all donations going toward “any medical expenses and funeral expenses.”
          The other victims were Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Stephen Straus, 88, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office. The seventh victim died in a different county and has not been identified, officials said.

          New information about the alleged gunman, his weapon and online activity

          Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering has told reporters that the firearm used by the alleged gunman was legally purchased.
          “That being said, again, if you can have a weekly mass shooting with a legally purchased gun, then I think we need to talk about why those laws are protecting the very people that they’re supposed to be protecting,” Rotering told CNN.
          At a news conference Tuesday, Covelli confirmed that the weapons — including one found inside the suspect’s vehicle during his arrest — had been legally obtained and purchased “locally within the region.”
          Covelli also said investigators believe that Crimo had planned the attack for “weeks” and accessed a rooftop on the parade route via a fire escape ladder.
          According to Covelli, Crimo also dressed in women’s clothes during the attack in an effort to conceal his identity, including notable face tattoos. Following the shooting, he said, Crimo dropped his weapon and attempted to blend in with the crowd as it fled. He then made his way to his mother’s house and took her vehicle. (There is no indication, police said, that Crimo communicated with his mother.)
          Crimo’s car was subsequently identified, Covelli said, by “an alert member of the community” who saw it and called police, leading to a traffic stop that ended with the suspect’s arrest.
          Covelli also told reporters that investigators do not believe the attack was racially or religiously motivated.
          “The shooting appears to be completely random,” he said.
          On Monday, Rotering said she had known Crimo since “he was just a little boy, a quiet little boy,” as she had been his pack leader during his time a Cub Scout.
          More recently, Crimo, who fashioned himself as “Awake the Rapper,” posted a series of online music videos he apparently made that featured ominous sounding lyrics and animated scenes of gun violence.
          In one clip, Crimo is seen with multicolored hair and face tattoos and is narrating, “I need to just do it. It is my destiny.” The video shows a cartoon animation of a stick-figure shooter — resembling Crimo’s appearance — in tactical gear carrying out an attack with a rifle.
          In a video titled “Toy Soldier,” another stick-figure cartoon character resembling Crimo is depicted lying face down on the floor in a pool of his own blood surrounded by police officers with their guns drawn. Another video, from September 24, 2021, showed Crimo III sitting on a set resembling a classroom, wearing a helmet and posing in various scenes while an instrumental arrangement of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” played in the background.
          The videos appear to have been posted online last year.
          The Facebook and Twitter accounts believed to belong to Crimo were taken down after he was named as a person of interest in the mass shooting.
          Crimo lives in an apartment behind his father’s house in Highwood, Illinois, according to his uncle, Paul Crimo, who said he also lives in the house.
          “I’m heartbroken. I’m so heartbroken,” Paul Crimo said. “There were no signs that I saw that would make him do this.”
          He said has not ever seen his nephew engage in any violence or concerning behavior.
          Paul Crimo said he does not know of any political views held by his nephew, though he described the suspect as active on YouTube.
          “He’s a quiet kid,” Paul Crimo said. “He’s usually on his own. He’s a lonely, quiet person. He keeps everything to himself.”
          Bobby Crimo, his uncle said, did not to his knowledge currently have a job, though he worked at a Panera Bread before the coronavirus pandemic.
          Paul Crimo also described a discussion with the FBI on Monday afternoon. Law enforcement officials arrived at the Highwood home and, with the permission of Robert Crimo Jr., the suspect’s father, searched it after using a battering device on the door.
          Crimo Jr., his brother confirmed, had previously run for mayor.
          “We are good people here, and to have this is devastating,” Paul Crimo said. “I’m so heartbroken for all the families who lost their lives.”

          What political leaders are saying

          President Joe Biden began the July Fourth holiday on Monday by sounding a hopeful note about the country’s future. But soon after, the gun massacre in the Chicago suburb prompted another statement and the promise of federal aid and resources to the area.
          “Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day,” Biden said, adding that he had “surged federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter.” (A suspect had not yet been detained at the time.)
          “But there is much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence,” he added.
          Later in the day, speaking from the White House, Biden touted a recently passed bipartisan gun safety law.
          “Before I left for Europe, I signed into law the first real gun safety law in 30 years,” he said. “Things will get better still, but not without more hard work together. You all heard what happened — you all what heard what happened today, and each day we’re reminders there’s nothing guaranteed about our democracy, nothing guaranteed about our way of life — you have to fight for it, defend it, and earn it by voting, to refine, evolve, and extend the calling of America to move forward boldly and unafraid.”
          The President, though, demurred after being asked whether the bill he signed less than two weeks ago might have made a difference on Monday.
          “We don’t know the circumstances yet,” Biden said.
          Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, speaking on Monday night, said he had spoken with Biden.
          “If you are angry today, I’m here to tell you to be angry. I’m furious,” Pritzker, a Democrat, said on Monday. “I’m furious that yet more innocent lives were taken by gun violence. I’m furious that their loved ones are forever broken by what took place today.”
          The state’s two US senators also addressed the shooting. Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Senate Democrat, called for stricter gun control laws.
          “There is no reason for a person to own a military assault weapon. It has no value for hunting, or sports or even self-defense,” he said. “It is a killing machine.”
          Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat, also mourned those slain and pledged to direct any federal resources she could to the community.
          “This morning, I got up like most Americans, like the families of (those) who were killed. To celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those … families no longer have that opportunity,” Duckworth said.

          The shooting scene from the perspective of a doctor who was there and a top hospital officials

          Dr. David Baum, a local obstetrician who treated victims on-site told CNN that “the people who were killed, were killed instantly.”
          Baum said he waited about a minute to make sure gunshots had stopped before jumping in to attend to the victims at the scene.
          “The people who were gone, were blown up by that gunfire — blown up,” Baum said. “The horrific scene of some of the bodies is unspeakable.”
          He added: “I don’t think the average person has to see a body eviscerated or a head injury that’s unspeakable, to understand that … they shouldn’t have to see that to understand what the problem is with this country.”
          Two doctors from the NorthShore University Health System also spoke to reporters about the treatment of patients at Highland Park Hospital.
          “There have been a lot of different events that have happened in the United States and this obviously now has hit very close to home. It is a little surreal to have to take care of an event such as this, but all of us have gone through extensive training,” said Temple, the system’s medical director.
            Dr. Mark Talamonti, chairman of surgery for the health system, praised the “heroic effort” of hospital trauma surgeons, but called Monday a “tough day.”
            “There’s a lot of emotions, but these trauma surgeons, their reflexes are extraordinary. They know exactly what to do,” Talamonti said. “So you stand in awe at their competency and their professionalism. But it breaks your heart to see people — innocents — essentially wounded.”

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