Volleys of rapid gunfire that left at least six people dead and 31 hospitalized at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, shattered the peace of the Chicago suburb. But it also "rattled Monday's celebrations across the U.S. and further rocked a country already awash in turmoil over high court rulings on abortion and guns," The Associated Press reports. The 309th mass shooting of 2022 "came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together."
Police on Monday evening arrested the lone gunman they believe fired on the parade from a rooftop, identified as Robert Crimo III, a local 21-year-old. Parade attendees described running for their lives and watching people shot dead right near them.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said "there are no words for the kind of evil that shows up at a public celebration of freedom, hides on a roof, and shoots innocent people with an assault rifle."
"It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague, a day dedicated to freedom has put into stark relief the one freedom we as a nation refuse to uphold: the freedom of our fellow citizens to live without the daily fear of gun violence," Prizker said at a news conference Monday evening. "If you're angry today, I'm here to tell you: Be angry. I'm furious. I'm furious that yet more innocent lives were taken by gun violence."
"While we celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become our weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition," Pritzker added. "There are going to be people who say that today is not the day, that now is not the time, to talk about guns. I'm telling you there is no better day and no better time than right here and right now. It's the Fourth of July, a day for reflection on our freedoms. Our founders carried muskets, not assault weapons. And I don't think a single one of them would have said that you have a constitutional right to an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine, or that that is more important than the right of the people who attended this parade today to live."
"The shooter is still at large, so let's pray for justice to prevail, and then let's move on," Pritzker's Republican opponent, Darren Bailey, said at a rally two hours after the shooting. "Let's celebrate the independence of this nation."