At least six people died and 24 were wounded after a mass shooting erupted during an independence day parade in a Chicago suburb in Illinois, USA, authorities said Monday.
According to agency reports, many parade go-ers, some wounded and bloodied, flood the area. Witnesses described seeing bloodied bodies covered with blankets as hundreds of people ran for safety.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the parade began around 10 a.m. but was suddenly halted 10 minutes later after shots were fired. A Sun-Times reporter saw blankets placed over three bloodied bodies. Several witnesses told the newspaper that they heard gunfire.
Police told people: “Everybody disperse, please. It is not safe to be here.”
A photo posted to social media appeared to show pools of blood near upturned chairs in downtown Highland Park.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a tweet that he is “closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park” and that Illinois State Police are assisting.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter that it is assisting Highland Park Police “with a shooting in the area of the Independence Day parade route.” The sheriff’s office directed an AP reporter to contact Highland Park Police. The Police Department said no one was immediately available to discuss the incident.
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float with coworkers and the group was preparing to turn onto the main route when she saw people running from the area.
“People started saying: ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,’” Glickman told the Associated Press. “So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.”
She didn’t hear any noises or see anyone who appeared to be injured.
“I’m so freaked out,” she said. “It’s just so sad.”