“It is devastating that a celebration of America has been torn apart by our uniquely American plague,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D) said Monday. “…While we only celebrate the 4th of July once a year, mass shootings have become our weekly – yes weekly – American tradition.”
Bloodshed in suburban Chicago of about 30,000 people shattered July 4 festivities, a highlight of summer in many Midwestern cities. The aftermath of the Highland Park parade was not candy wrappers and loose streamers, but pooled blood and abandoned buggies after residents fled the scene, taking shelter for hours as a hunt man was taking place in the area.
As gunfire explodes in suburban Chicago, ‘nowhere is safe’
In other cities, Americans were on high alert in public spaces, sensitive to loud noises and quick to disperse.
During a fireworks display in downtown Orlando, people fled as loud noises echoed throughout the area, and some onlookers suffered minor injuries during the commotion, police said. In the ensuing pandemonium, some people jumped into a nearby lake, an eyewitness told a local news channel. Authorities said there was no shooting and the confusion was likely caused by the sound of fireworks.
In Harrisburg, the sound of firecrackers being thrown at the ground was likely the cause of panic among hundreds of people just before the main fireworks display, police told the local ABC News affiliate. Authorities also said there were no shootings there. “The fact that you have to be ready at any time for a mass shooting is proof of a country rotten to the core,” said one local resident. wrote on Twitter.
In the district, two loud noises near 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW prompted nearby people to rush, fleeing towards the National Mall. Authorities at the scene confirmed the noises were fireworks and said the noises likely set off the alarm.
In Philadelphia, gunshots were heard shortly before 10 p.m. amid fireworks near downtown. Videos circulating on social media show people running away and trying to scale security barriers as fireworks go off in the background.
Two officers were shot but were released after being treated at a hospital, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. She said law enforcement was pursuing leads but no arrests had been made.
Caroline Pineda contributed to this report.