Police in this small town said Tuesday that the alleged perpetrator of the killings during National Day festivities in Highland Park planned his attack for “weeks” and disguised himself as a woman to avoid being identified.
Christopher Coveley, a police official, said at a news conference that Robert Cremo, 21, used a “powerful AR-15-like rifle” to shoot indiscriminately on July 4 participants in the July 4 parade from the rooftop of a store.
More than 70 rounds in the crowd
He said the alleged shooter was “dressed as a woman” to conceal his identity, and may have been wearing a long hair wig to hide his face tattoo, adding that he then threw his gun and walked away and mixed with the fleeing crowd from the show. The young man fired more than 70 times into the crowd, killing six adults and wounding at least 30 people.
As of Tuesday morning, police were still blocking Main Street in this affluent Chicago suburb and frozen in the first moments of the shooting. Stroller, tricycle, foldable chairs: The amount of objects left around the scene of the tragedy testifies to the chaos caused by Monday’s gunshots.
Dr. David Bohm, a physician involved in rescue operations at the site, testified to the atrocity of the attack. “The horrific sight of some dead bodies is unbearable for an ordinary person,” he told CNN, referring to the victims “exploding” or “devoured” by bullets.
Identified through videos
Christopher Coveley, who was originally from a small town near Haywood, said the shooter was identified thanks to surveillance videos and the tracking of the gun he legally purchased. Police arrested him on Monday after he posted a photo of a skinny, tattooed young man.
He did not explain his behavior, but a video posted eight months ago shows a young man in a bedroom and classroom with posters of a gunman and people being shot.
It contains a voiceover: “I just need to do this,” then “My destiny. Everything led me to this. Nothing could stop me, not even myself.”
Archived photos appear on the suspect’s Twitter account in private with the flag of support for former Republican President Donald Trump on his back.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rottering told NBC that she knew the young man when he was a boy in the Boy Scouts.
“This should never have happened to us.”
“This is where you have to think and wonder what happened: How did someone become so angry and so full of hate to attack innocent people spending a day with their families?” she said.
The city councilman spoke of the “unbelievable grief and shock” that struck the city. “It should not have happened in our small town where everyone knows someone who has been directly affected” by the tragedy.
Paul Cremo, the suspect’s uncle, said Tuesday on CNN that he “sees no signs of what he did.”
National Day celebrations have been canceled in many surrounding towns, without preventing violence.
In Philadelphia, two police officers were injured after being targeted during fireworks on July 4.
The country is still reeling from a spate of shootings, in which an 18-year-old at an elementary school in Ovaldi, Texas, killed 21 people, including 19 children, on May 24.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered flags to be lowered on public buildings. It has recently had a relative political success with Congress passing a law aimed at better regulating the sale of guns, nearly 400 million of which are in circulation in the United States.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which includes suicides in its data, more than 22,400 people have been killed with firearms since the beginning of the year.