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The business district opens for the first time since the July 4th parade attack

HIGHLAND PARK, IL – A business district that was on lockdown after a July 4th parade mass shooting that killed seven people reopened Sunday morning in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

The 2 block by 3 block area consists mostly of small shops and restaurants. It had been blocked off with crime scene tape, barricades and uniformed officers since Monday while the FBI and other law enforcement agencies processed evidence.

The street was generally quiet shortly after the police removed the barricades, except for media vehicles, a few other vehicles and people walking.

“We left at 5:30 this morning. It was open,” said Dale Miller, 70, who was walking his dog Milo near where the shooting happened. “This is our first walk of the day.”

He said he didn’t attend the parade this year but lives about 100 yards (91 meters) away and heard the shots but didn’t know what they were until his brother called him from Florida in a panic.

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“We’re just having fireworks here, that’s all,” Miller said he told his brother. “So the fireworks weren’t fireworks.”

He received many other calls after hearing about the shooting, including one from his daughter, a teacher in Florida.

“She called me in tears and said I had lost my safe haven,” Miller said. “Highland Park was always the one place I could go where I was safe, and that was taken away from me.”

The reopening comes two days after funerals began for the seven people killed in the shooting. Authorities said the gunman fired more than 80 shots into the parade crowd with a semi-automatic rifle.

Robert E. Crimo III, 21, is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors expect to file more charges against more than 30 people injured in the attack.

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Investigators say Crimo, of neighboring Highwood, legally purchased five guns and planned the attack weeks before climbing onto the roof of a business along the parade route and opening fire.

Authorities say Crimo fled the parade by joining the fleeing crowd, then drove to the Madison, Wisconsin area, where he planned a second attack. He returned to the Highland Park area and his car was spotted by police.

Questions remain about whether Crimo should have been able to legally purchase firearms in Illinois. Illinois State Police officials defended the approval of his gun license in December 2019, months after police received reports that he had made suicidal and violent threats.

Miller expressed hope that Highland Park will recover.

“It’s a very tight-knit city, and it’s a city that’s really suffering right now, but it’s not even destroyed,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

The business district opens for the first time since the July 4th parade attack

Source link The business district opens for the first time since the July 4th parade attack

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