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At least six dead after shooting at July 4 parade in Chicago suburb

At least six people were killed after an unknown perpetrator fired shots during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park near Chicago, officials say.

Washington, 4 July 2022 (dpa/MIA) – At least six people were killed after an unknown perpetrator fired shots during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park near Chicago, officials say.

According to a police spokesperson, 24 people have been brought into hospital following the shooting in the Chicago suburb. The shooter was still fugitive, the spokesperson said, but a weapon had been recovered at the crime scene.

The suspect was described as a white male between the ages of 18 and 20. According to a spokesperson for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, it appeared the perpetrator shot from a rooftop.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering urged people to avoid the city centre. “Numerous law enforcement officers are responding and have secured a perimeter around downtown Highland Park,” the administration of the town, with about 30,000 residents, said in a statement.

Highland Park is located in the south-eastern part of Lake County, in the state of Illinois, about 40 kilometres north of downtown Chicago.

Initially, officials had spoken of five dead, but soon after revised the figure to six. The motive of the crime was initially unknown.

An eyewitness told US broadcaster CNN that he saw several injured and lifeless people lying on the ground. “It was sickening,” Miles Zaremski said, adding that he heard around 30 shots. “It was just chaotic,” he said.

Congressman Brad Schneider was at the parade when the shooting started, he said on Twitter, adding that he and his campaign team are “safe and secure.”

“Hearing of loss of life and others injured. My condolences to the family and loved ones; my prayers for the injured and for my community; and my commitment to do everything I can to make our children, our towns, our nation safer. Enough is enough!” Schneider wrote.

July 4, or Independence Day, is a national US holiday, commemorating the Declaration of Independence ratified in 1776. It is marked with celebrations, fireworks and parades across the country.

The US has been struggling with huge levels of gun violence for a long time.

At the end of May, an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a primary school in the small town of Uvalde in Texas.

The crime reignited the discussion about stricter gun control in the US, where firearms are relatively easy to obtain.

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