Evanston cancels Fourth of July celebrations after shooting at Highland Park parade

Isabel Funk, Summer Editor

Content warning: this story contains mentions of gun violence and blood.

Authorities are still searching for the suspect following a mass shooting during Highland Park’s Fourth of July Parade. An active apprehension effort is underway with involvement from local, county, state and federal agencies.

The Northern Chicago suburb parade ended about 14 minutes after kicking off at 10 a.m. when at least 20 shots were fired at spectators and parade participants. 

Shortly before 5 p.m. Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen identified 22-year-old Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III as a “person of interest.” Jogmen reported the suspect is believed to be driving a silver 2010 Honda Fit, with Illinois license plate DM80653. 

Several nearby cities, including Evanston, responded by canceling their celebrations. Evanston also closed all public swimming beaches for the remainder of the day.

“While there is no known threat to Evanston residents, the shooter is still at large; therefore, cancelations are taking place in an abundance of caution,” an Evanston news release said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors to the north.”

Hundreds of parade-goers ran for safety, and a Chicago Sun-Times reporter said they saw blankets being placed over three bloodied bodies. 

A “high-powered” rifle was recovered from the scene. Six adults are confirmed dead, with five deaths at the scene and one at the hospital. The NorthShore Highland Park Hospital admitted 26 patients, 19 of whom have been discharged, Medical Director of Immediate Care Medicine at NorthShore Brigham Temple said. Only two patients remain at NorthShore Highland Park Hospital, he said, the others having been transferred. 

Six patients were admitted at NorthShore Evanston Hospital and two, including a child, were transferred from NorthShore Highland Park hospital. At least one child is critically injured. The ages of the injured range from 8 to 85 and Temple said four to five children were injured.

Highland Park Police issued a shelter in place order for a section of downtown and canceled all Fourth of July celebrations. The city is asking residents to avoid downtown while police respond. 

Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Chris Covelli said witnesses reported the shooter opened fire from the roof of a nearby business. He said residents should still consider the suspect to be “armed and dangerous.” 

“By all means, at this point, this appears to be completely random,” Covelli said. 

In a tweet, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he and his staff are monitoring the situation.

“State police are on the scene and we have made all state resources available to the community,” Pritzker said. “We will continue working with local officials to help those affected.” 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Twitter that the Chicago Police Department is providing assistance.

In response to the shooting, which occurred just miles from Northwestern, University President Morton Schapiro released a statement calling for unity and support. 

“In times like these, it is more important than ever for all of us to provide care and support to our friends, families and community members,” Schapiro wrote.

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. This story was last updated at 5:38 p.m.

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Twitter: @isabeldfunk