HIGHLAND PARK, IL — Police launched a massive manhunt Monday for a rooftop shooter after at least six people were killed and dozens more were injured at a July Fourth parade in an affluent Chicago suburb, authorities said.
A high-powered rifle has been found, and police are searching for the gunman who open who opened fire about 10:14 a.m. CT, Highland Park Police Cmdr. Chris O’Neill told reporters.
Police have identified 22-year-old, Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo III, as a person of interest, in the deadly mass shooting at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade. Crimo, is described to be a very slender white male with long black hair.
Police do not believe the shooter is holed up nearby, and they said he should be considered armed and dangerous, officials said.
The city of Highland Park confirmed that there was "an active shooter incident" and said all "individuals are advised to shelter in place."
Police were spotted scouring rooftops around Central Avenue near Green Bay Road and Second Street.
“It does appear that he was shooting from a roof,” Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli told reporters. The shooter got to his elevated locale by scaling a ladder, attached to a building, Covelli added.
The parade included scores of police and fire personnel. Shortly after gunfire erupted, officers moved toward the elevated sniper — causing him to stop and flee.
“He was discreet and very difficult to see," Covelli said.
Five of those six killed were pronounced dead at the scene while the sixth victim died at a hospital, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said.
Ten people were taken to Highland Park Hospital, six to Lake Forest Hospital, and seven to Evanston Hospital, Highland Park Fire Chief Joe Schrage said.
Paradegoers who might have lost contact with friends and family at the event were urged to go to the Highland Park Police Department to be reunited with them.
In the aftermath of Monday's shooting, discarded camping chairs, American flags, plastic cups, and other belongings littered the parade route, left behind by people who had come out to celebrate July Fourth before fleeing for their lives.
In the business district near the scene of the shooting, dozens of people were sheltering in place in businesses, awaiting SWAT teams who escorted them out to safety.
Helicopters circled overhead as the manhunt continued for the shooter who reigned terror on what was supposed to be a celebration of the nation’s freedom.
The street was dotted with military-style trucks filled with fatigue-clad, armed personnel inside and black, windowless vehicles marked “police rescue vehicle."
The gunfire, described by police as a “tragic, massive act of violence,” terrorized residents of the typically tranquil suburb more than 25 miles outside of Chicago. The median home in Highland Park is valued at $535,000 and more than 75% of people 25 and over have a college degree, according to U.S. Census data.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering thanked police officers for their fast response.
"Our community has been terrorized by an act of violence that’s shaken us to our core," she said.
Illinois State Police also responded to the scene, "assisting Highland Park PD with an active shoot situation," according to a statement the agency tweeted.
The Chicago Police Department dispatched a helicopter and other officers in the manhunt, officials said.
Fourth of July events in other Chicago suburbs — Evanston, Deerfield, and Skokie — were called off in the wake of the Highland Park shooting.
"There’s a lot of communities that are not looking forward to celebrating after something like this happens right in their backyard," Covelli said.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was at that planned Evanston event when the Highland Park shooting unfolded.
"There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families and children celebrating a holiday with their community," Pritzker said in a statement.
"I will stand firm with Illinoisans and Americans: we must — and we will — end this plague of gun violence."(NBC News)