*(CNN) — A mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade Monday in a suburb outside Chicago, Illinois, left at least six people dead and wounded more than two dozen others, Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill said.
Police are still searching for the suspect, who O’Neill described as a white man between 18-20 years old and wearing a T-shirt.
A rifle was recovered from the scene, he said. He said the attack appears to be “completely random” and the suspect appeared to shoot from a roof. O’Neill advised people to shelter in place.
A total of 31 people were transported to hospitals, according to hospital spokespeople.
The shooting in Highland Park, about 25 miles north of Chicago, caused hundreds of people to flee and triggered a police response of local, state and federal officers.
Highland Park said its Independence Day parade has been canceled and advised people to avoid downtown. The Illinois State Police said its troopers were responding to a “reported active shooter” in an assist role, and a spokesperson for FBI Chicago said it has deployed resources to the scene.
Witnesses at the scene described a peaceful parade pierced by the sudden ring of gunfire and ensuing chaos.
Miles Zaremski said he heard what he believed to be about 20 to 30 gunshots, in two consecutive spurts of gunfire, at about 10:20 a.m. CT, 20 minutes after the start of the parade. The hail of gunfire caused a stampede of people to flee, he said. He told CNN he saw a number of people bloodied and on the ground and described the scene as chaotic.
US Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat who represents the area, confirmed he was on scene during the shooting in a tweet.
“My campaign team and I were gathering at the start of the parade when the shooting started. My team and I are safe and secure,” he said.
Video taken by a witness, Hugo Aguilera, shows an ambulance turning around on the parade route and a police car with sirens on, as people gathered on the grassy sidewalk. Aerial video from CNN affiliate WLS shows abandoned lawn chairs up and down the parade route amid a heavy police presence.
Warren Fried, who attended the parade with his wife and 7-year-old twins, said he watched the police and ambulance pass by him at the parade and afterward heard an array of gunshots. People began yelling “shooter” and “run” and he and his family fled toward their car for safety.
“People were hiding, kids were on the streets looking for their parents, just in a state of shock,” he said.
Jeff Leon, 57, told CNN the shots sounded like “firecrackers in a garbage can,” and it wasn’t until he saw police officers reacting, that he knew anything had happened.
“The police started reacting, and I saw some people falling,” Leon said. “We just took off. And, you know, we, we were hiding behind cars, folding into the next car and making our way.”
The July 4th parade was expected to feature floats, marching bands, novelty groups, community entries and other special entertainment, the city said on its website.
It was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CT at the intersection of Laurel and St. Johns Avenues, and was set to head north on St. Johns Avenue and then west on Central Avenue and continue to Sunset Park, the city said.
The suburb of Highland Park has a population of about 30,000 people and has a per capita income of about $90,000, nearly triple the US average, according to US Census data.
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