What we know about the mass shooting at a Highland Park Fourth of July parade

On an idyllic summer morning, from a rooftop high above the Highland Park Independence Day parade, a gunman aimed down at the floats and lawn chairs and strollers and opened fire.

The high school marching band’s members sprinted for their lives, still carrying their flutes and saxophones. Bystanders scooped up young children and fled. In all, seven people were killed. Some two dozen others were injured, either by rifle fire or in the stampede away from the scene.

After an hourslong search, authorities arrested 21-year-old Robert “Bobby” Crimo III. A day later, he was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in what Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart called a “premeditated and calculated attack.”

Here’s what we know about shooting.

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Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy paralyzed from the waist down after being wounded at the Independence Day parade shooting in Highland Park, was in “very critical” condition after undergoing his seventh surgery on Wednesday, a family spokesman said.

Though his condition after the surgery initially seemed positive and the boy was breathing over the ventilator, as the day progressed Cooper’s fever returned. A CT scan also revealed fluid building in his esophagus, lungs and now around his pelvis, the family said through their spokesman, Anthony Loizzi.

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During her remarks at a candlelight vigil to help her city heal from the massacre perpetrated by a gunman killing seven and wounding dozens more during the Fourth of July Parade, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering spoke of healing.

“We mourn for those who were murdered, we mourn for their families, we mourn for their friends, we mourn for their neighbors and we mourn for our community,” she said. “Each of us will have a different experience and a different timeline as we find a way to move forward into our new normal.”

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An attorney who represents the parents of the man charged with murder in the Highland Park mass shooting on the Fourth of July said they have been cooperating with the law enforcement investigation of the shooting.

In response to concerns that Robert “Bobby” Crimo III’s father sponsored him for a firearm owner’s identification card, attorney George Gomez said, “We still take the position at the time the father (Robert Crimo Jr.) consented to the FOID application, that he was not aware that the son was a danger to anyone else or himself.”

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Scammers are targeting the Highland Park mass shooting’s victims, Illinois’s attorney general warned.

Anonymous callers have contacted survivors of the Fourth of July parade shooting and misrepresented what state financial support they may be entitled to, the attorney general’s office said.

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Hundreds of people, including survivors of the Highland Park Fourth of July shooting, are marching at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to pressure legislators to enact a federal ban on assault weapons.

As Highland Park and surrounding communities began to grieve in the wake of tragedy, Wilmette resident Kitty Brandtner sprung into action, founding a group called March Fourth with a mission of ensuring that the seven people killed in Highland Park are among the last Americans to lose their lives in mass shootings carried out with assault-style weapons.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering urged President Joe Biden to press for a federal ban on certain semi-automatic weapons during a visit to the White House on Monday, one week after a gunman killed seven and wounded dozens more in the North Shore suburb.

Pritzker and Rotering were among guests at an event to mark the passage of a bipartisan gun safety law approved in the aftermath of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, in May. The new law includes federal funding to help states implement so-called red-flag laws, like the one Illinois enacted in 2019, that allow courts to confiscate weapons temporarily from those deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

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Mayor Nancy Rotering had just started walking in Highland Park’s Independence Day parade when the music from the high school’s marching band ended abruptly, replaced by an ominous cadence.

“I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I was hearing was the gunshots,” she said.

Rotering, a near-lifelong resident of Highland Park and its mayor since 2011, was immediately thrust into a global spotlight while trying to lead her town through an unimaginable crisis and pressing for changes to America’s gun laws. Nine years ago, Rotering signed a city ordinance banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, and on Monday she and Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined President Joe Biden at the White House to commemorate the passage of new restrictions.

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Mourners at the funeral service Tuesday for Irina McCarthy, who was killed in the Highland Park parade shooting along with her husband Kevin, recalled she was a “wonderful mom” and vowed to care for the 2-year-old son the couple left behind.

“Our hearts are shattered. The pain is unbearable. There are rivers of tears. We don’t want to be here, nor should we be here today,” Rabbi Dovid Flinkenstein said at the service, held at a Wilmette funeral home eight days after the Fourth of July gunfire killed the couple and five others.

The McCarthys were the youngest among the seven people who were fatally shot that morning; Irina was 35 and Kevin 37. Their toddler son Aiden was scooped up by a stranger during the shooting and reunited with his grandfather after the boy’s photo was widely circulated on social media.

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An 8-year-old boy who was shot in the chest at the Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park is now paralyzed from the waist down.

The boy is now in “in a great deal of pain – physically and emotionally – especially as the family had to share with him the devastating news,” the family said through their spokesman Anthony Loizzi.

But as the family deals with the pain, they also acknowledged the emergency medics, police, fire department and medical staff that saved Cooper’s life. “It was a true miracle,” they said.

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At the entrance to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, a sign reads “We welcome our new Pastor, Father Hernan Cuevas on the weekend of July 2 & 3rd, 2022.” One day later, Cuevas found himself leading dozens of parishioners through those same doors and away from the town’s Fourth of July parade after a gunman opened fire.

“I was so much looking forward to this Fourth of July parade, as your new parish priest,” Cuevas said. “This was our day. This was our day for all of us as a community to let our community at large know that we were a new united parish community of Immaculate Conception and St. James and ready to be a positive presence in our neighborhoods.”

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Highland Park, located on the North Shore of Chicago, sits between the suburbs of Highwood and Glencoe. On the Fourth of July, after a gunman killed and wounded dozens during the holiday parade here, social media was alive with expressions of shock and grief, outpourings of sympathy and surprise at where this happened ― but also reminders that Highland Park is one of the wealthiest suburbs in America.

But actually, Glencoe, to its south, is much richer. And Highwood, to its north, has a poverty rate only slightly above Chicago’s. Comparably, Highland Park is well-off. Pretty wealthy, just not as uniform as some of the suburbs that surround Highland Park.

It is a town shouldering some misconceptions — of what a Midwest suburb looks like now, and what sheltered still means.

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The shooting immediately resurrected all too familiar questions about gun violence in America and easy access to weapons. But it also made clear that even in Illinois — one of the bluest of blue states — regulations are Byzantine and full of loopholes that are only revealed after tragedy strikes.

And the state had been warned recently about the limits of its laws permitting Firearm Owners Identification cards and dealing with those who have them.

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The parents of a toddler. A father of eight and a grandfather to many. A synagogue employee known for her kindness. A family man who loved the arts.

Here is what we know about the victims of the shooting who ranged in age from 8 to 85 years old.

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The city’s main street will never look the same to Courtney Mann, who grew up going to the Fourth of July parade.

“You go two blocks away from here and it seems like life is normal,” Mann, 46, said.

Late into the morning, FBI agents loaded abandoned lawn chairs and strollers into U-Haul trucks and drove them away. Central Avenue began to look clean again as the rain dried up.

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Highland Park police were called to the family home of the alleged Independence Day parade sniper at least nine times between 2010 and 2014 in response to domestic disputes, according to newly released police records.

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A Lake County judge ordered Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, accused of carrying out the rooftop massacre at Highland Park’s Independence Day parade, held without bond as his prosecution on seven counts of first degree murder begins.

Calling Crimo a “threat to the community,” Judge Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered him to remain in jail. Crimo’s next hearing is set for July 28.

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Those attending Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade left behind many personal items in the rush to flee the scene. Their belongings are slowly being released by law enforcement as their investigation of the mass shooting continues.

>>> See the photo gallery here

An 8-year-old boy who was shot in the chest at the Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park is now paralyzed from the waist down, his family said Friday through their spokesman.

Cooper Roberts, one of the Roberts family’s twin 8-year-old boys, had remained in critical condition for several days with a severed spinal cord. His condition has been upgraded to serious, the spokesman said.

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Toddler Aiden McCarthy was found wandering alone in the chaotic aftermath of Monday’s mass shooting in Highland Park as strangers sought to reunite him with his family.

Tuesday it emerged that the parents of 2-year-old Aiden, Irina and Kevin McCarthy, were among the seven people killed when gunfire erupted at the start of the local Fourth of July parade.

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The family of Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, prayed for a miracle after the grandfather was shot while attending the Highland Park Fourth of July parade. His daughters, on social media, pleaded with others to join them in prayer, sharing a photo of Uvaldo sitting in front of the Louvre in Paris, wearing a blue shirt and a soft smile.

But Uvaldo didn’t make it and requests for prayers for a miracle turned into prayers for strength for the family he leaves behind.

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Katie Goldstein, whose neighbors describe her as “welcoming” and “lovely,” brought them baked goods during the holidays.

On the Fourth of July, however, she attended the Highland Park parade where a gunman killed seven and injured dozens. Goldstein was one of the seven killed, leaving behind her husband and two daughters.

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Nicolas Toledo, 76, arrived a few months ago from his native Morelos, Mexico, to spend time with his family after retiring several years ago.

Minutes after the parade had started, Toledo — sitting in a wheelchair surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren — had been smiling as horses marched down the street, a relative, Elizabeth Vazquez Toledo told local Chicago Spanish news stations the evening after the shooting.

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Steve Straus, 88, was an exceptional joke-teller, an avid reader and a “culture vulture” who enjoyed the artistic fruits of the Art Institute and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, family members said Tuesday. Energetic beyond his years, Straus commuted on Metra five days a week to his office downtown, where he worked as a stockbroker.

Straus, said his son Peter Straus, was “very curious about the world.”

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Jacki Sundheim coordinated events and bar and bat mitzvahs at North Shore Congregation Israel, according to the synagogue’s website.

Sundheim also taught preschool at Congregation Israel, where she was a lifelong member, according to a message from the synagogue. It also said her “work, kindness and warmth touched us all” and that she guided “innumerable among us through life’s moments of joy and sorrow, all of this with tireless dedication.”

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“We’ve got to be smarter as a country in terms of who has access to what, in particular assault weapons,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, who was joined by Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and other Democratic politicians. “And we’ve got to take this stuff seriously. The whole nation should understand and have a level of empathy to understand that this could happen anywhere in any peace-loving community. And we should stand together and speak out about why it’s got to stop.”

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The shooting at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade put the North Shore town in chilling company with other communities across Chicago and the suburbs where neighbors, co-workers, students and residents have faced terror and tragedy when gunmen opened fire.

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Having moved to Highland Park with my family as a 10-year-old, the city has been the place where I raised my children, and now get to watch grandchildren play baseball on the same diamonds where I played as a boy.

It is home and a very good one.

Fourth of July parades were often part of my experience as a child, as a parent, as a reporter and now as a grandparent. A few times, the parade was a three-generational experience with multiple grandparents. Thankfully, that was not the case Monday.

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In the past, Chicago-area parents may have been able to avoid difficult conversations with their young children about mass shootings in other areas of the country. But the Highland Park shooting has made that nearly impossible for many parents.

“If you’re living in northern Illinois, everyone is going to be talking about this, and if a child is older than a toddler, they’re going to have some level of exposure to it,” said Gene Liebler, executive director of behavioral health and community at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

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The first popping noises sounded like firecrackers or maybe a gun salute honoring the American flag. Then someone screamed, “There’s a shooter.”

And, in an instant, everyone understood the reality.

They grabbed their children under their arms and ran. They left behind strollers, lawn chairs, cellphones and purses. They took only what mattered.

“People were terrified, screaming,” Highland Park resident Joe Leslie said. “It was a scene from a nightmare.”

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The most deadly incident since May happened when a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at a school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24. And on May 14, a racist attack led to the deaths of 10 African Americans at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

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The Bulls hold close ties to the Highland Park community. They practiced for more than 20 years in Deerfield, less than 10 minutes from the site of the shooting, and Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were among many Bulls players and coaches to live in Highland Park during their tenure with the team.

In its statement the team called for increased action to combat gun violence. The Bulls previously partnered with other city teams to form the Chicago Sports Alliance, which directs grants to organizations such as the Chicago Crime Lab.

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Liam Hendriks, who was born in Australia, said he is “baffled’ by American gun culture.

“That’s what America is known for,” he said. “There are a lot of things that are good over here, but you look at the news and it’s just a complete … I can walk into the stores as a non-American and buy a handgun in certain states. And that baffles me because I had to take a driving test when I came over here. I won’t have to take a test if I want to get a gun. That’s stupid. Whoever thought that was a great idea is an idiot.”

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