Shooting near Chicago casts pall over local Fourth of July events

Southland law enforcement agencies will be keeping a close watch on local Fourth of July celebrations tonight, after a holiday parade in a Chicago suburb turned deadly when someone opened fire, killing at least six people.

“The Long Beach Police Department is aware of a recent national act of violence. Although there are no known credible threats of violence to our city, we are maintaining a vigilant posture and increasing our patrol presence through the city, including at public events,” Long Beach police tweeted Monday.

Neither the Los Angeles Police Department nor the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were commenting on the Illinois shooting when reached by City News Service, but officers and deputies were scheduled to be on hand at the area’s many parades and fireworks shows Monday.

“Today 6 people were killed and 24 injured during a shooting incident at the 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois,” the Sheriff’s Department tweeted. “LASD sends its prayers and condolences to the victims and their families. We want to remind everyone to stay safe and always report suspicious activity.”

A police watch commander in Huntington Beach, which had a major parade Monday morning and has a fireworks show scheduled Monday night, said police are not doing anything different than what they would normally do for a Fourth of July celebration.

Monday’s tragedy in Highland Park, Illinois, began at about 10:14 a.m. local time when a man between the age of 18 and 20 with long black hair opened fire on a parade that included several police officers and firefighters. The suspect, who was still at large hours later, apparently fired from a rooftop, according to authorities in that city.

Six people died and at least 24 more were injured. Authorities urged those in the area to shelter in place as they hunted for the suspect.

The Chicago White Sox canceled a fireworks show that was scheduled to follow their game against the Minnesota Twins, and said a moment of silence would be held for the victims before the game.

President Joe Biden issued his own statement on the tragedy.

“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day,” Biden said. “I will monitor closely as we learn more about those whose lives have been lost and pray for those who are in the hospital with grievous injuries.

“I recently signed the first major bipartisan gun reform legislation in almost thirty years into law,” he added, “and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”

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