The shooting during a July 4 parade in Highland Park that left at least six people dead and 24 injured rocked the small, affluent community in suburban Chicago and shocked the United States as a whole.
It is the latest in a string of mass murders that have recently included a Texas school shooting and the racist massacre of black shoppers at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
But this latest mass murder took on a particularly symbolic note as the shooter took aim at a parade of flags celebrating the country’s National Day and – once again – has forced Americans to wonder how and why their nation is so often hit. by such bloody attacks.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said: “This morning at 10:14 a.m. our community was terrorized by an act of violence that has shaken us to the core. Our thoughts are with the victims at this devastating time. On this day when we have come together to celebrate community and freedom, we instead mourn the tragic loss of life and struggle against the terror that has been inflicted on us.
Video capturing the parade showed members of a marching band fleeing as gunfire was heard nearby. The suspect, described as a black-haired white man in his late teens or twenties, has still not been found.
Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill called the shooting a “horrific, senseless and random act of violence”.
Giffords Courage, the gun advocacy organization led by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot at a public event in Tuscon, Arizona, in 2011, responded to the shooting in the Illinois: “A mass shooting has people running for their lives at a 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois. Several people are reported dead or injured. It is not normal. We should be able to live without fear of being shot down.
Shannon Watts, founder of gun reform group Mom’s Demand, said: ‘The media reported that the shooter – a white teenager or young male – had a rifle and was in a ‘sniper position’ on a rooftop as he picked up people below at the Highland Park parade. It is not freedom; it is terrorism.
American singer and 80s pop-rock icon Richard Marx, from Highland Park, tweeted: “My heart is still broken by this constant mass shooting no matter where it happens, but today I even more heartbroken. And even more angry at the absurdity.
Local politicians also weighed in and pledged to take action to end gun violence in the United States – although such sentiments are often expressed in the wake of these tragedies and there is rarely significant progress. to gun reform.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said: “Grief will not bring back the victims and prayers alone will not end the terror of gun violence rampant in our country…we must and we will end this scourge of armed violence.”
Shortly before the tragedy, the National Rifle Association gun lobby shared a message on Twitter in honor of Independence Day: “We are a country because of brave souls with guns that enjoyed and fought for freedom and freedom.”
A bald eagle was depicted in the video associated with the tweet, accompanied by a voice-over: “The only reason you celebrate Independence Day is because the citizens were armed. Happy 4th of July from the National Rifle Association of America.