Gun Violence Generates Panic Across America on Independence Day

·3 min read
Evidence technicians from the FBI searching after a mass shooting next to Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli and children reacting to a mass shooting at a july 4 parade.
Evidence technicians from the FBI searching after a mass shooting next to Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli and children reacting to a mass shooting at a july 4 parade.

More than 220 people were shot and killed across the U.S. over the July 4th holiday weekend. 

Nine mass shootings occurred on Monday alone, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. As young and old celebrated the country's 246th birthday, others scrambled in terror during more than a dozen mass shootings and other gun violence incidents over the last few days. 

This video from Philadelphia shows a considerable crowd stampeding in panic as fireworks light up the night sky as if they could have been in a movie scene. During the celebration from Ben Franklin Parkway, two police officers were working security when somebody shot them.

In Gary, Ind., a shooting at a block party left three dead and seven injured. Two Indiana men, 27 and 25, and an Illinois woman, 20, were pronounced dead at the scene, Chicago TV station WFLD reports.

In a higher-profile crime, however, north of Chicago, in the suburb of Highland Park, a shooting during a parade Monday has taken the lives of seven people and left dozens more wounded. 

Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, was at the parade with family members who live nearby. She captured a surreal scene on video when the shooting had just occurred and a band, oblivious to what had just happened, played on.

Robert E. "Bobby" Crimo III, 21, was arrested in Lake Forest, a nearby community, at 6:45 p.m. Monday after a brief pursuit in another suburb, North Chicago, Christopher Covelli, deputy chief of the Lake County Sheriff's Office, told reporters.

Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said officers had spotted Crimo's vehicle, and after a brief pursuit, North Chicago police had arrested the driver.

Covelli said a high-powered rifle has been recovered and that the shots were fired from a rooftop. 

He said Crimo planned the attack for several weeks. The accused gunman used an "unsecured" ladder to access the rooftop on the parade route, Covelli said. As people fled the chaos, Crimo, disguised as a woman, and disappeared into the panicked crowd before walking to his mother's house, according to Covelli. Crimo then borrowed his mother's car, which an officer discovered after an intensive search.

It is unclear why Crimo would have disguised himself and fled while leaving behind a legally purchased assault rifle that authorities could trace.

There were five deaths at the scene, and a sixth victim died at a hospital, according to the Lake County coroner's office. All victims have been identified, said Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek. On Tuesday afternoon, authorities announced a seventh person had died. "The victims ranged in age from 8 to 85," the Chicago Tribune reports.

A young person grazed in the face by a bullet tweeted their despair with the situation.

"I can't f**king believe I was in the middle of a mass shooting. I've felt safe at this parade for 18 years and today I got hit with a bullet and nothing will change in America this is ridiculous," the tweet read.

(Editor's note: The image may be difficult for some readers to view.)

Witnesses told the Chicago Sun-Times that the scene was like something from a war zone. One witness reported hearing more than 20 shots fired at the parade scene. Another witness recalled hearing two sets of 30 shots.

Covelli said police discovered several firearms belonging to the suspect in a home beside the rifle he had left on the rooftop and a rifle he had in the car.

News of the shooting in Highland Park prompted other suburbs to cancel their Fourth of July celebrations.