In the moments after a gunman opened fire at a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, bystanders wasted almost no time rushing to the victims’ aid.
Among them was David Baum, a local doctor who stood with members of his family just 200 feet from most of the victims, he said.
“Suddenly you could hear these howitzer-like noises going off. Immediately, people started yelling, ‘Body down, Sagittarius,’ and they all started scattering,” he recalled.
“I told my family to run,” Baum said. He stayed briefly in a place protected from the gunfire. “Then I just stayed like that until I thought, maybe, maybe there’s no more threat.”
After the shooting stopped, “a lot of people were screaming,” he said.
“There were six bodies who were immediately ruled dead. Those bodies were literally blown up by those bullets.” (Authorities confirmed Monday afternoon that at least six people had been killed; the gunman remained at large.)
Other victims were hit in the arms or legs, Baum said. “I’ve seen horrible, devastating injuries, the kind you usually see in a war.”
As emergency responders tended to the victims, Baum said he joined forces with other health professionals, including a nurse, a male orderly, an emergency room doctor and a plastic surgeon.
The Fourth of July Parade is an annual event in Highland Park, a leafy suburb north of Chicago. According to Baum, the main event was preceded by a children’s parade. His daughter, son-in-law and grandson all attended; his grandson pushed a toy lawn mower as he walked.
After the children’s event, Baum said, the celebrations also saw ambulances, fire engines and police vehicles take their turn. But as the Highland Park High School band rolled by, gunfire shattered the merry day.
Monday’s attack will likely take years for the community to process, as will similar mass shootings that have plagued the country. There have been more than a dozen such shootings this year alone, including one in May at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers.
“I don’t think I need to describe the horrific nature of what the bullets did to those bodies, but it was horrific,” Baum said of Monday’s attack. “As a doctor for 33 years, I don’t mind blood. But to see people’s heads blown up and bodies disemboweled would be unsettling to anyone who was there, except maybe a doctor.”
He tried to downplay his work for victims: “I don’t want to be out there as anything other than a doctor who didn’t run for his life,” Baum added. “It’s not heroic stuff I did. The only thing I didn’t do was run away.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/doctor-rushed-to-aid-victims-moments-after-highland-park-mass-shooting?source=articles&via=rss dr David Baum helped victims of the mass shooting at the Highland Park Parade