Highland Park shopping area reopens for the first time after parade shooting – National | Globalnews.ca

A shopping district that had been on lockdown since the July 4 parade mass shooting that left seven dead reopened Sunday morning in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

The 2-block by 3-block area is made up mostly of small shops and restaurants. He had been blocked off with crime scene tape, barricades and uniformed officers since Monday as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies processed evidence.

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The street was generally quiet shortly after 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 said he was walking his dog, Milo, near where the shooting occurred. “This is our first ride of the day.”

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He said he didn’t attend this year’s parade but lives about 100 yards away and heard the shots, though he didn’t realize what it was until his brother called him from Florida in a panic.

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

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

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

Click to play video: 'Illinois parade shooting leaves 2-year-old orphaned, covered in blood'

Illinois parade shooting leaves 2-year-old boy covered in blood orphaned

Illinois parade shooting leaves 2-year-old boy covered in blood orphaned

The reopening comes two days after funerals began for the seven people who died in the shooting. Authorities said the attacker fired more than 80 rounds into the parade crowd from a semi-automatic rifle.

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Robert E. Crimo III, 21, has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors hope to file more charges representing the more than 30 people who were injured in the attack.

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

Authorities say Crimo fled the parade by blending into the fleeing crowd, then drove to the Madison, Wisconsin area, where he witnessed a second attack. He returned to the Highland Park area and police saw his car.

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

Miller expressed hope that Highland Park will recover.

“It’s a very close-knit city and it’s a city that’s hurting a lot right now, but it’s not even remotely destroyed,” he said.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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