highland park parade shooting

Highland Park Parade Shooting: What We Know About the Suspect and the Weapon Used

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As Highland Park residents begin to pick up the pieces after a tragic mass shooting at the northern Chicago suburb's Fourth of July parade left seven killed and more than 40 wounded, questions remain about how the suspect was able to legally obtain a weapon.

Illinois State Police said in a press conference Wednesday that the suspect was able to obtain a Firearm Identification, or FOID, card legally two years ago, though the application submitted in December 2019 was sponsored by his father because he was underage.

The application was reviewed and approved in January 2020, ISP said.

In September 2019, police visited the suspect's home following a call from a family member who said he was threatening “to kill everyone” there.

Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword -- though not found to be owned by him -- but said there was no sign he had any guns at the time.

"In September 2019, ISP received a Clear and Present Danger report on the subject from the Highland Park Police Department," ISP said in a statement Tuesday.

Upon arrival at the home, both the suspect and mother disputed the threat of violence and police found no sign of clear and present danger and not enough evidence to make an arrest, ISP said based on a report.

"The report was related to threats the subject made against his family. There were no arrests made in the September 2019 incident and no one, including family, was willing to move forward on a complaint nor did they subsequently provide information on threats or mental health that would have allowed law enforcement to take additional action. Additionally, no Firearms Restraining Order was filed, nor any order of protection," state police said.

"At that time of the September 2019 incident, the subject did not have a FOID card to revoke or a pending FOID application to deny," the statement continued.

For a Firearms Restraining Order, the court must find evidence that a person is unfit to own a firearm beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest burden in a court of law. Illinois State Police said a court didn't find enough information by a preponderance of the evidence.

"Once this determination was made, Illinois State Police involvement with the matter was concluded."

"At the time of FOID application review in January of 2020, there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application," ISP said.

ISP also noted that officials responded to a reported suicide attempt by the subject in April 2019. The Highland Park Police Department reported both incidents to the Illinois State Police, the agency which issues gun licenses and FOIDs.

State police also said that the suspect passed a series of background checks, and no criminal charges aside from a citation for possession of tobacco by a minor were found on his record.

The 21-year-old suspect, who grew up in the area, faces seven counts of first-degree murder, with many more criminal charges to come, according to Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart, after firing more than 70 rounds into the crowd from the rooftop of a local business.

"These are just the first of many charges that will be filed against [the suspect]. Dozens more charges centered around each of the victims," which Rinehart said included those struck by bullets and those that suffered psychological damage.

The seven counts announced Tuesday would, if convicted, carry a mandatory sentence of life without parole, Rinehart said.

A 21-year-old arrested in connection with a mass shooting at a Highland Park Fourth of July parade has been charged with murder, authorities announced Tuesday.

Covelli said at the suspect's bond hearing Wednesday that the alleged gunman in 2020 had legally purchased four guns, including the high-powered, semi-automatic rifle used in the Highland Park attack.

"We do believe [the suspect] pre-planned this attack for several weeks," Covelli said. "He brought a high-powered rifle to this parade, he accessed the roof of a business via a fire escape ladder and began opening fire on the innocent Independence Day celebration goers," Covelli said in an earlier update.

Authorities said a gun found at the scene and another rifle found in the vehicle he was driving at the time he was arrested -- after a nearly eight-hour manhunt -- were registered in his name and legally purchased, but a motive for the shooting remains unclear.

Court Appearance

The alleged gunman was ordered held without bond Wednesday during a court hearing.

"He does in fact pose a specific threat to community therefore defendant will be held without bond" the judge said during the hearing.

Tuesday, Attorney Steve Greenberg said his firm -- specifically attorney Tom Durkin -- had been retained by the family to represent both the suspect and his parents following the shooting, which left seven people dead and more than 40 people wounded.

However, during Wednesday's hearing, it was noted that Durkin will no longer be representing the suspect due to conflict of interest, and that the shooter now must retain a public defender.

"I want to continue to emphasize that this is an ongoing and active investigation with all of our law enforcement partners," Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said following the hearing.

"If anyone has any surveillance footage whatsoever of the July 4 Highland Park parade, we would urge them to contact the Highland Park Police Department."

The next hearing is scheduled for July 28 at 1:30 p.m.

The Victims

The Lake County Coroner's office on Tuesday released the names of six out of seven people killed in the mass shooting at the Highland Park Independence Day Parade.

"It is with a heavy heart that I bring to you the names of the victims of that tragedy," Coroner Jennifer Banek said at a press conference late Tuesday afternoon.

The names of the victims identified by Lake County so far include:

  • 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein of Highland Park
  • 35-year-old Irina McCarthy of Highland Park
  • 37-year-old Kevin McCarthy of Highland Park
  • 63-year-old Jacquelyn Sundheim of Highland Park
  • 88-year-old Stephen Straus of Highland Park
  • 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza of Morelos, Mexico

Wednesday, the Cook County Medical Examiner released the name of a seventh victim, 69-year-old Eduardo Uvaldo of Waukegan.

Hundreds packed into a church to honor the victims of Monday’s shooting in Highland Park, and NBC 5’s Alex Maragos kicks off team coverage.

More than $ 2 million as been raised so far for 2-year-old Aiden McCarthy, whose parents were both killed in Monday’s shooting in Highland Park.

"At 2 years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position: to grow up without his parents," Irina Colon, who set up the fundraiser, said. "He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love, and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows."

According to Colon, the community came together to locate McCarthy’s grandparents in the aftermath of the shooting, and the couple will help to raise him in the years ahead.

Several more vigils are planned for the community, including the following on Wednesday:

Makom Solel Lakeside
1301 Clavey Road, Highland Park
7 p.m.

Highwood Candlelight Vigil

Everts Park, 111 North Ave., Highwood
6:30 to 9 p.m.

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