A survivor of the Highland Park massacre was forced to leave her dead mother behind and flee to safety where the suspected gunman, identified by police as Robert Cremo, was “still shooting everyone.”
Cassie Goldstein, 22, was watching the Independence Day parade with her mother, Catherine Goldstein, 64, in Chicago’s Highland Park suburb when the shooting began on Monday.
“I was standing there with my mom and I heard what I thought were fireworks shooting down the street across from me,” Goldstein said, remembering the moment she saw her mother shot.
“Then I looked up and saw the shooter shooting the kids,” she told NBC News. “And I told her that was the shooter and she had to run.”
They were running next to each other when her mother was shot in the chest and she fell to the ground.
“I knew she was dead,” she said. “I just told her I loved her, but I couldn’t stop because he was still shooting everyone who was next to me.”
She added that she “continued to run” and “hid behind a trash can”. She returned to her mother after the shooting stopped.
“She was just a good mom,” she said. “And I had 22 years with the best mother in the world… I did everything with her. She was my best friend.”
Goldstein was one of seven people killed in the July 4 shooting in Illinois.
Police have released the names of five other victims, including Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37, parents of a two-year-old boy. Devoted Synagogue Member Jacqueline Sondheim, 63; Grandfather Nicolas Toledo Zaragoza, 78, and Stephen Strauss, octogenarian.
Mr. Cremo was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder after Highland Park Police traced him through DNA on the gun at the July 4 parade. If convicted, the 21-year-old will face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
He was arrested Monday evening after a chase that lasted for hours across the city north of Chicago.
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jugmen said a police officer stopped Cremo about five miles north of the shooting site, several hours after authorities released his and a silver Honda Veet with a warning to the public that he was likely armed and dangerous.
according to NBC 5 ChicagoThe identity of Mr. Kremo was first revealed to the authorities due to DNA collected from the gun discovered at the scene.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives quickly tracked down the gun, agency spokesman April Langwell told The Associated Press on Monday. Federal agents conduct such tracking to determine when, where, and to whom the gun was last sold.