A mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois on Monday has left at least five people dead and 16 more injured, officials said.
Police are urging the public to stay away from the downtown area of the suburb, which sits north of Chicago, as they conduct a manhunt for the shooter.
The shooting happened a little after 10 a.m. local time, WMAQ-TV reports. The Lake County Sheriff’s office and other law enforcement departments are assisting Highland Park Police with the shooting response.
“STAY OUT OF THE AREA — allow law-enforcement and first responders to do their work,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.
Illinois State Police said the shooting situation is “active.”
“The Illinois State Police is currently assisting Highland Park PD with an active shoot situation that occurred at the Highland Park Parade,” the state police said.
“Highland Park Police are responding to an active shooter incident that occurred in downtown Highland Park during the 4th of July parade,” the city of Highland Park said in a statement. “This is an active incident. All individuals are advised to shelter in place. Law enforcement agencies are searching for the suspect; evidence of a firearm has been recovered. Numerous law enforcement officers are responding and have secured a perimeter around downtown Highland Park. 16 people have been transferred to the hospital; 5 individuals are confirmed deceased.”
Witnesses told local news station WMAQ that parade spectators thought the sound of gunfire was part of the parade at first.
“You heard like a ‘pop, pop, pop,’ and I think everybody kinda thought maybe it was a display on one of the floats, and then it just opened up,” witness Larry Bloom said.
“I was screaming and people were screaming,” he said. “They were panicking and they were just scattering and I, you know, we didn’t know. You know, it was right on top of us.”
The rest of the Fourth of July festivities in Highland Park have been canceled as police continue the search for the shooter, the city of Highland Park said.
The neighboring city of Evanston has also canceled their holiday celebrations.
“Due to a tragic mass shooting that took place earlier this morning in Highland Park, the City of Evanston will be canceling this year’s 4th of July Parade and celebrations effective immediately,” city officials said.
The mass shooting follows a violent holiday weekend in Chicago. At least 54 people had been shot, seven fatally, as of Monday morning.