Photo Credit: Jonathan Hillenbrand / NorthShore University Health System / Wikimedia
Highland Park Hospital, Highland Park, Illiniois on Jan. 15, 2009

At least six people were killed and 24 others wounded and hospitalized after a gunman opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

Two of the casualties were reportedly Jewish. At least one child was taken to the hospital and was listed in critical condition.

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Dr. Brigham Temple, an emergency physician at NorthShore University Health System, said the hospital received 26 patients from the attack; 25 of them had gunshot wounds, including four or five children. Temple added that 19 of the wounded were treated and released, according to USA Today.

Police are continuing to search for the gunman, who managed to escape. He is described as a white male around age 20 with long black hair and a small build, wearing a blue tee shirt. A person of interest in the attack has been identified as Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo, 22, believed to be driving a 2010 silver Honda.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesperson Christopher Covelli told reporters at a briefing the gunman apparently opened fire from a nearby rooftop, using a rifle that was later recovered at the scene. He added that police believe there was only one shooter – and warned the attacker should be considered armed and dangerous.

According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, there are reports of Jews among the wounded. The Israeli Consulate in the Midwest is in contact with the authorities and the local Jewish community, Israel’s foreign ministry said.

“I am following the horrible news from Highland Park.” said Yinam Cohen, Israeli Consul-General to the US Midwest. “Our hearts and prayers are with the members of the community. We thank the local authorities for their immediate response.”

The shooting took place just two blocks away from The Central Avenue Synagogue, a popular Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in the neighborhood.

Among the many parade-goers who were present when the shooting began was a Chabad rabbinical student who was running a tefillin outreach stand just a block from the gunfire.

The emissary-in-training called home to let his parents know that he was safe and had evacuated to the nearby Chabad House.

Video from the scene showed dozens of people racing for safety minutes after the shooting began around 10:15 am local time.

The city asked residents to avoid the downtown area and promised there would be more information as soon as it became available. Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said Fourth of July festivities had been canceled following the incident.

US Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL) was gathering with his campaign team at the start of the parade when the gunfire began. He said in a tweet that he and his team were all safe and were monitoring the situation.

Highland Park is located about 25 miles north of Chicago, on Lake Michigan. It’s considered one of Chicago’s most Jewish suburbs; a beautiful, affluent suburb with a low crime rate.

This is a developing story.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.