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Pope Francis decries Fourth of July shooting in northern Chicago suburb

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Pope Francis appealed for a rejection of all violence in the wake of Monday's shooting at a Fourth of July Parade in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois. File Photo by Claudio Peri/EPA-EFE
Pope Francis appealed for a rejection of all violence in the wake of Monday's shooting at a Fourth of July Parade in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois. File Photo by Claudio Peri/EPA-EFE

July 5 (UPI) -- Pope Francis decried on Tuesday the shooting in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park that killed six people during a July 4th parade and injured at least 30 other people.

Francis said he was "deeply saddened" to learn "of the senseless shooting," in a telegram sent on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and asked the cardinal to convey his sympathies to those impacted, Vatican News reported.

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The pope added that he "joins the entire community in praying that Almighty God will grant eternal rest to the dead and healing and consolation to the injured and bereaved."

Francis prayed "with unwavering faith that the grace of God is able to convert even the hardest of hearts, making it possible to depart from evil and do good...that every member of society will reject violence in all of its forms and respect life in all of its stages."

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On Monday, a gunman apparently opened fire in the fatal mass shooting from a rooftop during the Independence Day parade in the affluent Chicago suburb, according to investigators.

Police have identified Robert "Bobby" Crimo, 21, as a person of interest after identifying violent content he posted on social media, alleging he planned the attack for weeks, and authorities said he used a "high-powered" weapon in the shooting. Crimo has not been officially charged in the attack.

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The attack in Illinois was one of several deadly shootings across the United States on the July 4th holiday. Other shootings on Monday, in California, New York City, Philadelphia, Wisconsin, and Florida, were also deadly.

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The deadly shooting at the community parade in Illinois also marked the latest high-profile mass shooting this year.

Earlier this year, a mass shooting killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which was the deadliest since the 2012 shooting when 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

Some other mass shootings this year have included a racially-motivated shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 10 people, and a mass shooting at a predominantly Asian church service in Orange County, Calif., that killed one person and injured five others.

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Last month, tens of thousands rallied in March of Our Lives protests against gun violence.

The protest was a successor to the first "March for Our Lives" rally organized by survivors of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 people dead. That rally brought hundreds of thousands to the nation's capital to demand legislative action to end gun violence.

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"A ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and other weapons of war," were among the group's legislative policy priorities, along with "policies to disarm gun owners who pose a harm risk; and a national gun buy-back program," the group's website shows.

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