Police said at a press briefing Tuesday that the type of gun used in the mass shooting at the Highland Park parade on July 4 that killed and wounded six was a high-powered rifle that “is similar to an AR-15.”
Authorities initially said they had recovered a “rifle” along the route of the July 4 parade, and that they had deliberately withheld more details as they pursued the gunman.
Sgt. Christopher Coveley, of the Lake County Major Crime Squad, later revealed that the gunman had survived the fire and fired more than 70 shots into the crowd from the rooftop of a commercial building.
Law enforcement first identified suspect Robert E. Cremo, 22, through DNA found on the gun.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted a rapid tracing of the gun to determine where and to whom the gun was last sold.
Cremo was named a VIP and arrested about eight hours later after a brief chase with the police. He has not been formally charged.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rottering said in interviews Tuesday that she believes the gun used in the mass shootings was purchased legally. Authorities later confirmed these details and said Kremo was in possession of other weapons, including a rifle, at the time of his arrest.
Semi-automatic shooting falls on the 4th of July convoy
When the shooting erupted just after 10 a.m. CST, hundreds of Highland Park-goers fled, leaving prams, clothes, and pools of blood splattered along the road in Highland Park.
In videos of the incident, the heavy and choppy sound of semi-automatic gunfire was evident.
“We heard 20 to 30 shots,” Lytham Burns said. NBC News.
“It was definitely semi-automatic, with a fast pace.”
Another witness, Dr. David Bohm said NBC Chicago The injuries were “horrific”.
“The kind of injuries you’d probably see in wartime, the kind of injuries that might only happen when bullets blow up bodies,” he said.
Many took refuge anywhere they could reach: in garbage cans, businesses and homes where the city was closed for hours.
In recent mass shootings in Ovaldi, Texas, and Buffalo, New York that left 31 people dead, including 19 children, 18-year-old shooters in both cases legally purchased the AR-15s they used.
In Ovaldi, the doctors and medical examiners who responded to the scene had to identify several victims through DNA, as the bodies of first and second graders were badly damaged by bullet holes.
House lawmakers passed a sweeping gun reform package last month that included raising the minimum purchase age for a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 and banning large-capacity magazines.
However, the Senate approved a vote on a watered-down bill that stopped raising the minimum age at which AR-15s can be purchased.
Instead, a Senate bill signed into law strengthened background checks for under-21s, closed the so-called “friend loophole,” imposed tougher penalties for gun smuggling and provided $750 million for mental health and school security services. .
The AR-15 has become synonymous with mass shootings in the United States.
The semi-automatic weapon was used in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, in the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas, and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.