Illinois authorities said they have arrested 22-year-old Robert (Bobby) Crimo III in connection with Monday's mass shooting at a July 4th parade in suburban Chicago. Photo Courtesy Highland Park Police Dept./Facebook
July 4 (UPI) -- A man wanted in connection with the slaying of six people at an Independence Day parade north of Chicago on Monday was taken into custody eight hours after the incident, authorities announced.
Robert Crimo III, 22, identified earlier in the day as a "person of interest" in connection to the mass shooting, was pulled over in Lake Forest, Ill., and arrested without incident after a brief pursuit, Highland Park, Ill., Police Chief Louis Jogmen told reporters.
Crimo was taken into custody by Highland Park officers, he said.
No charges had been filed against Crimo as of Monday evening and authorities offered no immediate motives for the shootings, which took place just after 10 a.m. along a holiday parade route in suburban Highland Park, about 30 miles north of Chicago.
Authorities said that in addition to the six deaths, 26 people were taken to NorthShore University HealthSystem with injuries -- all but one of whom had sustained gunshot wounds.
Dr. Brigham Temple told reporters the victims ranged from 8 years old to 85 with injuries ranging from minor to severe.
Roberto Velasco Alvarez, the head of Mexico's Foreign Ministry North America unit, tweeted a Mexican citizen was among the dead. Two Mexicans were also injured, he added.
"Our sincere condolences for all the people who lost their lives in this attack," he said.
The Highland Park Police Department and Lake County, Ill., Sheriff's officials had described Crimo as a person of interest about two hours before the arrest was announced. They said he was believed to be driving a 2010 Silver Honda Fit with an Illinois license plate.
Jogmen said the vehicle was spotted by a North Chicago, Ill., police officer who had been stationed along U.S. Hwy. 41 in Lake Forest.
Earlier, Highland Park police patrol Cmdr. Chris O'Neill described the shooter as a white man with black hair, between 18 and 20 years old, and wearing a white or blue shirt.
Witness Miles Zaremski told the Chicago Sun-Times he counted more than 20 shots during the attack.
"I heard 20 to 25 shots, which were in rapid succession, so it couldn't have been just a handgun or a shotgun," he told the newspaper, adding that he saw "people in that area that got shot," including "a woman covered with blood . . . She did not survive."
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Sgt. Christopher Covelli told reporters that investigators recovered the rifle used in the shooting from the scene. He said it appeared the gunman was "shooting from a roof."
Nearby communities canceled July 4th festivities in response to the shooting, including in Evanston, Glenview and Glencoe.
Mayor Nancy Rotering called the shooting "the bloodiest day that we have ever experienced in Highland Park."
"Our community, like so many before us, is devastated," she said in a statement. "It's impossible to imagine the pain of this kind of tragedy until it happens in your backyard."
Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters during a press conference that "this murderer will be brought to justice."
"There are no words for the kind of evil that shows up to a celebration of freedom, hides on a roof and shoots innocent people with an assault rifle," he said.
Pritzker, a Democrat, said it's devastating that an American celebration would be destroyed by a "uniquely American plague" and that he is furious that more innocent lives were killed and that children and families are traumatized by what has become a "weekly American tradition."
In an earlier statement, he asked for prayers for the families and for the first responders "whose bravery undoubtedly saved innocent lives on the scene."
But grief, he added, "will not bring the victims back and prayers alone will not put a stop to the terror of rampant gun violence in our country."
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden also condemned the shooting, saying they are "shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day."
The president said he has "surged federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter."
The Highland Park Police Department asked people to avoid the downtown area and the rest of the day's July 4th festivities were canceled, while a "shelter in place" order was issued for the area surrounding the shooting.
The FBI is also asking the public for videos and photos of the parade as well as for information connected to the shooting.
The Chicago White Sox baseball team announced it would hold a moment of silence for the victims prior to its evening game against the Minnesota Twins and said a planned postgame fireworks display had been canceled.