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Highland Park suspect planned attack, wore women’s clothes to evade police

Click to play video: 'Suspected gunman planned attack ‘for several weeks’ before Fourth of July parade shooting, police say' Suspected gunman planned attack ‘for several weeks’ before Fourth of July parade shooting, police say
Chris Covelli, spokesperson for the Lake County major crime task force, said Tuesday that the suspected gunman who opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park had planned the attack “for several weeks.” Police do not believe anyone else was involved in the attack – Jul 5, 2022

Police in the Chicago suburb scarred by America’s latest mass shooting say the suspect planned the attack for several weeks and wore women’s clothing to conceal his identity.

Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office says that Robert E. Crimo III wore the clothing to conceal his facial tattoos and to blend into the crowd as he fled the scene.

Six people were killed and more than 30 people were injured when shots rang out in the middle of a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill.

Covelli says Crimo brought a legally purchased high-power rifle to the parade, accessed a roof of a business via a fire escape ladder and fired more than 70 rounds at people gathered at the Independence Day celebration.

Read more: Highland Park shooting suspect: What we know about the man in custody

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After the attack, police say he dropped his rifle and escaped, blending into the crowd as if he was an “innocent spectator” and walking to his mother’s house, where he borrowed her car.

Police put out an alert with information about Crimo and the vehicle, and a member of the public who spotted the vehicle dialed 911 and officers were able to apprehend him.

Covelli says a second rifle was located in the vehicle, also purchased by Crimo, and the suspect remains in custody. An update on charges is expected later today.

The deputy chief adds there is no indication that anyone else was involved in the attack and a motive has not been determined. Police have no information that it was religiously or racially motivated, Covelli said, adding it appears to be “completely random.”

Click to play video: '‘No information’ to suggest July 4 parade shooting was motivated by race, religion: police' ‘No information’ to suggest July 4 parade shooting was motivated by race, religion: police
‘No information’ to suggest July 4 parade shooting was motivated by race, religion: police – Jul 5, 2022

Covelli adds Crimo is actually 21, not 22 as previously reported, and is a resident of Highwood, Ill.

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Mayor Nancy Rotering told the news conference that today is a day of grieving together, to pause and to remember those who died as well as honour those who were injured.

She earlier told CNN that she was once the alleged gunman’s Cub Scout pack leader.

“Many years ago, he was just a little boy, a quiet little boy that I knew,” Rotering said. “It breaks my heart. It absolutely breaks my heart.”

Video clips posted to social media showed the festivities collapsing into panic as revellers realized they were under fire and scrambled for cover.

Read more: Highland Park shooting: Grandfather, ‘tireless’ synagogue teacher among victims

The violence erupted just six weeks after a deadly elementary school rampage in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers.

The confluence of America’s birthday and a worsening epidemic of gun violence is sure to conjure a familiar brew of hurt, helplessness and outrage.

A statement from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas described a “celebration of our nation punctured by tragedy,” and commended the efforts of local law enforcement.

“The security of our homeland requires more; It requires all of us, together, to address the epidemic of targeted gun violence” with new community-based prevention and intervention strategies.

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In a tweet late Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered condolences to the victims, their families and the Highland Park community.

Click to play video: '‘It was just horrible’: 6 killed in mass shooting at 4th of July parade near Chicago' ‘It was just horrible’: 6 killed in mass shooting at 4th of July parade near Chicago
‘It was just horrible’: 6 killed in mass shooting at 4th of July parade near Chicago – Jul 4, 2022

They “wanted nothing more than to celebrate their country ? but instead had their lives change forever,” Trudeau tweeted.

“To the injured, and to the loved ones of the victims: Canadians are keeping you in our thoughts.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

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