Hours following the mass shooting at a Highland Park Independence Day parade outside of Chicago, Illinois state Sen. Darren Bailey (R) said it was time to “move on” and “celebrate” the nation’s independence.
Bailey, who recently earned the GOP nomination for the upcoming gubernatorial race, went live on Facebook from the neighboring suburb of Skokie, where he was planning to attend a parade. In the wake of the shooting, the parade was canceled.
Bailey asked for prayers for the families impacted, as well as law enforcement and parade organizers.
“There’s a lot of confusion and frustration that the parade’s being cancelled but they did the right thing because people’s safety has got to come first,” said Bailey. At the time, the shooter, who killed at least 6 people and injured more than two-dozen others with what police say was a “high-powered rifle,” was still at large.
“Let’s pray for justice to prevail and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation,” Bailey, who was positioned among a group of supporters holding signs, added. “Bless us and protect us as we go about our day celebrating the most amazing country.”
A spokesperson for Bailey told VICE News that the candidate’s intent was not to diminish “the pain being felt across our state today.”
“I am heartbroken by today’s tragic events and the pain and loss felt by so many. My intent was to pray for the victims and those affected by today’s tragedy and for the shooter to be caught and prosecuted without further loss,” said Bailey in a statement, adding that it is time to address the uptick in violent crime and mental health issues across the nation.