UPDATE | Six killed in shooting at 4 July parade in Chicago suburb of Highland Park

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Shots were fired at an Independence Day parade. (iStock)
Shots were fired at an Independence Day parade. (iStock)
  • A shooter opened fire along the path of an Independence Day parade in Illinois, killing six people and injuring 24 others.
  • Highland Park announced all 4 July festivities have been cancelled as a result of the shooting.
  • Firearms cause approximately 40 000 deaths a year in the United States, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

A shooter opened fire along the path of an Independence Day parade in the US state of Illinois on Monday, officials said.

Six people were killed and at least two dozen were injured when an apparent rooftop gunman opened fire in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Highland Park, officials said, sending panicked spectators fleeing from the scene.

Police were searching for a white male, believed to be about 18 to 20 years old, and asked the public for tips to help find him. Police said initial reports suggested he fired from a rooftop.

"Our community was terrorised by an act of violence that has shaken us to our core. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims during this devastating time," Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering told the news conference.

A rifle was recovered from the scene.

"Law enforcement agencies are searching for the suspect; evidence of a firearm has been recovered," the city of Highland Park reported on its website.

"Numerous law enforcement officers are responding and have secured a perimeter around downtown Highland Park."

"The Illinois State Police is currently assisting Highland Park PD with an active shoot situation that occurred at the Highland Park Parade," the Midwestern state's police force tweeted.

One hospital spokesperson said there were 31 injured. Staff at NorthShore Highland Park Hospital in Highland Park were treating 26 people and five were transported to NorthShore Evanston Hospital, spokesperson Jim Anthony said.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office, which is responsible for the area that includes Highland Park, the city near Chicago where the shooting took place, also said it was assisting with "a shooting in the area of the Independence Day parade route."

"The vast majority suffered gunshot wounds. Remaining individuals sustained injuries as a result of chaos at the parade," Anthony said.

The sheriff's office did not say whether the parade had reached that point on the route when the shots started, but the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the shooting began about 10 minutes after the parade did.

Highland Park announced that all 4 July festivities had been cancelled as a result.

US Representative Brad Schneider, who was at the event, said on Twitter that "a shooter struck in Highland Park during the Independence Day parade."

"Hearing of loss of life and others injured. My condolences to the family and loved ones; my prayers for the injured and for my community," he wrote, adding: "Enough is enough!"

Firearms cause approximately 40 000 deaths a year in the United States, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

The debate over gun control - a deeply divisive issue in the country - was reignited by two massacres in May that saw 10 Black supermarket shoppers gunned down in upstate New York and 21 people, mostly young children, slain at an elementary school in Texas.

Congress passed the first significant bill on gun safety in decades in the wake of those killings. President Joe Biden signed it into law in late June, saying that while it falls short of what is really needed, it will still save lives.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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