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A 4th of July parade in Illinois was the latest target of a mass shooter

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

A Fourth of July parade in Illinois was the latest target of a mass shooter. It happened in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb. A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on a crowd that came together to celebrate. At least six people were killed. Dozens of others were injured. Jessica Antes (ph) was one of the MCs of the parade.

JESSICA ANTES: We were, like, 10, 15 minutes into it. And literally my co-host, Ryan (ph), and I, we looked at each other. We're like, that's got to be fireworks, right? And then we saw people just scattering and screaming.

FADEL: NPR's Cheryl Corley has been reporting on the shooting. And she joins me now. Hi, Cheryl.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Hi.

FADEL: So, Cheryl, 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III was called a person of interest early on. How did police find him? Is he in custody?

CORLEY: He is in custody. You know, there was just a massive number of police officers on hand after the shooting occurred shortly after 10 o'clock in the morning. And there was a massive manhunt. And a description of Crimo and the car he was driving proved to be crucial. He's white with long, dark hair. Authorities said he was driving a silver Honda Fit. And Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen says about eight hours after the shooting occurred, a police officer in another suburb saw the car, pulled it over for a traffic stop and called in other officers when the driver fled.

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LOU JOGMEN: A brief pursuit went on. Ultimately, they were able to get the subject stopped. The subject was taken into custody without incident.

CORLEY: And Jogmen says, besides questioning Crimo, they're continuing to examine information from the crime scene, along with digital information and other details, as part of determining what charges could be filed in this case.

FADEL: And what do we know about the people who lost their lives yesterday?

CORLEY: Well, some of them are being identified on social media. For example, one of those killed was a Mexican national, Nicolas Toledo, who was visiting. That information comes from a Twitter announcement posted by Mexico's director of North American Affairs. Jacki Sundheim worked at a Chicago-area synagogue. So we're getting more information, you know, as the day goes on. The wounded ranged in age from 8 to 85, mostly adults, but including four or five children. And many were treated and released.

FADEL: And what do we know - what else do we know about the man that police have been questioning?

CORLEY: Well, the police provided, you know, some of the statistics about weight, height, that sort of thing. But beyond that, what we know about Robert Crimo is that he's an aspiring rapper who goes by the name Awake the Rapper. He has quite a presence on several social media sites, including several YouTube channels. And some of those music videos are ominous and violent. In one posted on YouTube a year ago, there's a stick figure with an automatic rifle. At one point, there's a person lying in a pool of blood. Another in a classroom takes a really dark turn as the main character pulls on a tactical helmet and vest, reaches into a backpack. Now, those videos have been pulled. One other note about his family - Crimo's father runs a convenience store and ran for mayor in 2019.

FADEL: Now, mass shootings like this are so common now. There's been more than 300 since the start of this year. How is Highland Park dealing with being a victim of this type of violence?

CORLEY: Well, as you might imagine, it's just been really intense. People were scared. They were angry. Highland Park is a really close-knit community, fairly wealthy area. I spoke with Alexander Sandoval (ph). He had gone to the parade with his family and their dog. And he called it just a terrifying day.

ALEXANDER SANDOVAL: I put my son and my little brother and the puppy in the garbage dumpster. And I ran back to look for my partner. And I saw people on the ground shot. And, you know, all I wanted to do was get my phone, call, make sure that we would get reunited and just get out of there.

CORLEY: And President Biden, who just a few days ago signed a gun violence bill passed by Congress, in his condolences said he would send resources to help the community pull through.

FADEL: NPR's Cheryl Corley. Thank you, Cheryl.

CORLEY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.