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Mass shooting at Highland Park parade on July 4, 5 dead, 16 hospitalized

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Five people were killed and 16 others injured when a gunman started shooting 10 minutes after the Highland Park Fourth of July parade started Monday morning, authorities said.

Shortly after noon, Highland Park police said it remained an “active incident” and urged people to stay away.

A reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times saw blankets over three bloodied bodies and five other injured and bloodied people near the parade’s overhaul booth.

Several witnesses said they heard multiple shots. A witness said he counted more than 20 shots.

Miles Zaremski, a resident of Highland Park, told the Sun-Times: “I heard 20 to 25 shots, coming in quick succession. So it couldn’t have just been a pistol or a shotgun.”

Zaremski said he saw “people in that area being shot,” including “a woman covered in blood . . . She didn’t survive.”

The police said to the people: “Everyone break up, please. It’s not safe to be here.”

As they fled the parade route on Central Street in downtown Highland Park, parade-goers left behind chairs, prams and blankets as they took cover, not knowing exactly what was happening. Even as people ran, a klezmer band continued to play, seemingly oblivious to the gunfire.

Highland Park Police and several other jurisdictions, including the Illnois State Police, some armed with rifles, patrolled the area looking for whoever fired the shots.

Adrienne Drell, a former Sun-Times reporter, said she was sitting on a curb along Central Avenue watching the parade when she saw members of the Highland Park High School marching band running.

“Go to Sunset,” Drell said, hearing the students screaming and directing people to nearby Sunset Foods.

A man lifted her off the curb and urged her to get out, Drell said.

“There’s panic all over town,” she said. “Everyone is just stunned.”

She ran to a nearby parking lot with other people who had been watching the parade.

“It was a quiet, peaceful, beautiful morning. People were enjoying the parade,” Drell said. “Within seconds, it’s terrifying to see that peace suddenly shattered. You can’t go anywhere, you can’t find peace. I think we’re falling apart.”

Terrified parade-goers fled Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade after shots were fired, leaving their belongings behind as they searched for safety.

Eric Trotter, 37, who lives blocks from the shooting, echoed that sentiment.

“I was shocked,” said Trotter. “How could this happen in a peaceful community like Highland Park.”

Governor JB Pritzker said he was “closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park” and that Illinois state police were on the scene.

The parade had a heavy police and fire engine presence.

Blood collected at Port Clinton Square in Highland Park.

Blood collected at Port Clinton Square in Highland Park.

This is a story in development. Come back for updates.

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