Seven people were killed and more than 30 injured on Monday when a gunman on a rooftop armed with a high-powered rifle opened fire on spectators at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. The 21-year-old gunman was apprehended, but his motive remains unclear. In the aftermath of the attack on Monday night, there were several chaotic incidents around the country during which crowds watching fireworks demonstrations were sent into a panic after reports of gunfire; most were false alarms. The Highland Park shooting is the third high-profile mass shooting in the U.S. in less than two months, following the white-supremacist massacre at a Buffalo supermarket and the Uvalde school shooting in May. Below is what we know about this latest attack and its aftermath.
About 10:15 a.m. Monday morning, shortly after the start of an Independence Day parade in the affluent Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, a gunman standing on a downtown rooftop opened fire on the paradegoers with a high-powered semiautomatic rifle, sending marchers and spectators running for their lives. The shooter rapidly fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd, then fled.
Seven people were murdered in the attack. Five died Monday at the scene and another later after being transported to a nearby hospital. A seventh victim then died on Tuesday, police said. Reuters reported on Wednesday that an eighth victim had died, but corrected that statement soon after. The six victims identified on Tuesday were all adults between the ages of 35 and 88.
More than 30 people were injured either by gunfire or in the resulting panic. Highland Park Hospital said Monday that 25 of the 26 victims it received had gunshot wounds. The victims ranged in age from 8 to 85.
Local residents sheltered in place as more than 100 law-enforcement agencies worked to apprehend the shooter. Eight hours after the shooting, police arrested the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, after a brief chase in an adjacent town on the Chicago area’s North Shore. On Tuesday, prosecutors charged him with seven counts of first-degree murder, and said more charges are likely.
Law-enforcement officials said Tuesday that the gunman apparently spent several weeks planning the attack, but while the shooter’s motive was still under investigation, his choice of a target seemed to have been random. “We have no information to suggest at this point it was racially motivated, motivated by religion, or any other protected status,” Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.
The gunman reached the roof of a business by climbing a fire-escape ladder, Covelli said, and he had dressed in women’s clothing to be able to hide his appearance and escape during the chaos. He dropped the rifle he used in the attack after getting down from the roof. Covelli said the gunman appears to have legally purchased the rifle.
After the shooting, Crimo apparently walked to his mother’s house in town and borrowed her car. Another rifle the gunman had bought was found in the car after he was apprehended following a manhunt and brief chase.
A physician who treated victims said they looked like they had been “blown up”:
Seven people were killed in the attack. Local officials identified six of them on Tuesday afternoon:
Katherine Goldstein, 64 lived in Highland Park.
Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37, lived in Highland Park and had a 2-year-old son who survived the shooting and was taken in by strangers until he could be identified and reunited with his grandparents. A GoFundMe for the orphaned child and his caregivers quickly raised more than $1 million.
Stephen Straus, 88, was a stockbroker, grandfather, “culture vulture,” and longtime resident of Highland Park, according to the Chicago Tribune. He leaves behind a wife of nearly 60 years, two sons, and four grandchildren.
Jacki Sundheim, 63, lived in Highland Park and was an employee of the North Shore Congregation Israel synagogue in nearby Glencoe, where she coordinated events and taught preschool, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Nicolás Toledo, 78, was also killed in the attack. The New York Times reports that when the shooting started, Toledo was sitting in his wheelchair surrounded by his family, who attended the parade every year. The grandfather was a dual Mexican and American citizen who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s but moved back and forth between Highland Park and Mexico over the years. He was reportedly shot three times. Two other members of the group he was with, Toledo’s son and his granddaughter’s boyfriend, were also shot but their injuries were not life-threatening.
Among the nearly 40 victims injured in the attack were a local elementary school teacher and her husband, according to a GoFundMe shared on Twitter by the Chicago Teachers Union.
Another survivor shared photos of her bullet wound and bloody clothes on Twitter shortly after the shooting:
The white 21-year-old gunman, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, was a Highland Park resident whose family had lived in the town for multiple generations, and his father once ran for mayor.
On Tuesday, authorities announced that Crimo had a few previous run-ins with police. In April of 2019, someone called the police to tell them that Crimo had tried to kill himself. Later that same year, a member of his family called police to report that Crimo had threatened to “kill everyone” and that he owned a large collection of knives. The police did not find enough probable cause to arrest him, but seized 16 knives, a sword, and a dagger from his home. He later acquired at least five firearms, including a pair of AR-style assault rifles.
Crimo posted and apparently made money off of rap videos on YouTube under a moniker. The Chicago Tribune notes that the collection of 17 videos under Crimo’s since-removed YouTube account “alternates between wholesome and foreboding”:
In one video, a teen who looks like Crimo happily skateboards and roughhouses with his pals. Another captures what appears to be a police-escorted government motorcade leaving an airport before a man who appears to be Crimo swivels the camera to his tattooed face.
A black-and-white video, taken with a selfie stick, shows a glum figure that looks like Crimo walking through a neighborhood. In another, a newspaper with a Lee Harvey Oswald headline can be seen over his shoulder. The most chilling video is the final one in the series, uploaded eight months ago, which features footage of a young man in a bedroom and a classroom along with cartoons of a gunman and people being shot. Superimposed on the video is a rotating image of interlocked triangles.
“I need to leave now, I need to just do it,” the voiceover to the video says. “It is my destiny. Everything has led up to this; nothing can stop me, not even myself.”
The Verge reports that several other accounts belonging to the gunman, including social-media accounts and a Spotify account, had all been taken down as of midday Tuesday. A researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, Emerson T. Brooking, told the Washington Post that Crimo “was immersed in fringe internet culture. But nothing uncovered so far suggests a clear political or ideological motive.”
Crimo also apparently tried to enter a nearby synagogue during passover services in April but was asked to leave, USA Today reported Tuesday.
Photos of Crimo have emerged showing him attending at least one Trump rally, but it’s not clear if he was actually a Trump supporter; an old friend of the gunman’s told the Post that Crimo was “consistently apolitical.”
This post has been updated.