It was 10:17 am on July 4th, Central Daylight Time, when Shelly Sella’s cell phone rang. She remembers the time clearly.
What she heard – it was her daughter Lauren – she will never forget.
“Screaming, ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, you gotta come and get us, you gotta come and get us,'” Sella recalled.
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“There isn’t a mother on planet earth, I don’t care how old your child is, who wants to get that call.”
Lauren and her friend Amanda Levy, who was visiting from Connecticut, were at the Fourth of July parade in the tiny Chicago suburb of Highland Park on Monday when the shooting happened.
“I think I passed out,” said Levy, 28, as she described seeing some of the parade’s floats come to an unexpected stop.
“I was confused. And then we saw the band walking on the sidewalks. And that’s when I looked at (Lauren) and we saw a police officer running in the opposite direction.”
“No information” suggesting the July 4 shooting was motivated by race, religion and police
Seven people were killed and 38 injured when a lone gunman, sitting on a rooftop and disguised in women’s clothing, opened fire on spectators Monday as they watched the Fourth of July parade pass through the suburbs.
At the intersection of Central Ave. and Green Bay Rd., where journalists and local residents awkwardly mingled in a now uncomfortable U.S. ritual on Tuesday, the debris of a abandoned national holiday could still be seen.
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Upturned folding chairs, miniature flags flapping in the wind and a pink child’s bicycle could still be seen behind police barricades, evidence of the moment when the community’s festive, patriotic fervor gave way to abject panic.
A collection of flowers and handwritten messages of grief grew steadily throughout the afternoon as residents and visitors passed the scene and stepped over police cordon tape to pay their respects.
Sella and Levy were among viewers who cheered with relief on Tuesday as prosecutors announced seven charges of first-degree murder against Robert E. Crimo III, the alleged perpetrator.
Crimo, 21, faces a life sentence without parole and “dozens” of more likely charges, Lake County District Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
Authorities also released the identities of six of the seven victims: Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; and Stephen Straus, 88, all from Highland Park; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, from Mexico.
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Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said police first responded to Crimo’s home in April 2019 after learning he had attempted suicide a week earlier.
The next interaction took place in September of the same year, when a family member reported that Crimo had a collection of knives and that he threatened to “kill everyone”. No charges or complaints were filed.
Crimo legally purchased five guns, including the rifle used in the attack and one found in a vehicle with him when he was arrested, as well as handguns and other firearms confiscated from his father’s home.
The Highland Park violence came just six weeks after a deadly shooting spree at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers, shocking – but not surprising – a country now awash with staggering firepower.
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Covelli said the suspect planned the attack for several weeks and wore women’s clothing to hide his face tattoos and blend in with the crowd as he fled the scene.
He said the gunman, armed with a high-powered rifle, used a fire escape to climb onto the roof of a company along the parade route before firing more than 70 rounds into the crowd.
When it was over, the attacker allegedly left his rifle and escaped, blending in with the crowd as if he were an “innocent bystander”.
Police have no information that it was religiously or racially motivated, Covelli said, describing the attack as “completely random.”
“What should have been a celebration of freedom ended in despair for our community,” Rinehart said, behind him a battery of officers, investigators and police.
“All the people who died just steps from here lost their freedom – everything, every ounce of freedom they had. The freedom to love, the freedom to learn and the freedom to live a fulfilling life.
“Your freedom counts too.”
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Today, in the country known for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that freedom can include leaving forever.
“I don’t like this world that we live in at all,” Sella said.
“I have serious concerns about where we’ve been and where we’re going. And honestly, I’ve thought about leaving this country a number of times lately.”
So does Jim Perlman, a lifelong resident of Highland Park, who said he’s not alone as he considers his options.
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“As the momentum develops, a lot of people are talking about it and people want to leave,” said Perlman, whose home is less than two blocks from where the shooting took place.
“You don’t feel safe. Kids don’t feel safe in schools… it’s like a snowball rolling down a hill and getting worse.”
where would they go Sella said she has family in Israel, a country with its own reputation for violence, “but it’s more predictable,” she said.
“This is what it looks like, this is what it feels like to live in Israel.”
As for Perlman, he thinks closer to home.
“Everyone’s talking about Canada,” he said. “Maybe we’re up there.”
© 2022 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/8969939/highland-park-shooting-local-reaction/ After the July 4 shooting, Highland Park residents say it may be time to leave US National