• The toddler is safe and at a hospital in Highland Park, waiting to be reunited with family
  • A local chef who was at the parade scooped him up when shots began to carry him to safety
  • Now, they are trying to reunite the boy with his family
  • The parade began around 10 a.m. but it was suddenly halted 10 minutes later after shots were fired
  • Hundreds of parade-goers – some visibly bloodied – fled the parade route
  • Police said in a statement early Monday afternoon that six people had been killed and 24 people were taken to hospital

A small boy who was found bloodied and alone during the chaos of the Highland Park Fourth of July shooting has been reunited with his grandparents at a local hospital.

The child was found alone and was kept ‘safe but with strangers’ according to a tweet from CBS Chicago’s Jackie Kostek. It’s unclear whether the boy was at the parade with his parents or grandparents.

He was grabbed by a local chef, who has not been named, after the gunman opened fire.

There also appear to be blood stains covering the child’s leg and shoes, though it is unclear if it is the child’s blood or someone else’s.

The authorities are still looking for the gunman. Video shot by a Sun-Times journalist after the gunfire rang out shows a band on a float continuing to play as people run past, screaming. A photo posted to social media appeared to show pools of blood near upturned chairs in downtown Highland Park.

Gina Troiani and her son were lined up with his daycare class ready to walk onto the parade route when she heard a loud sound that she believed was fireworks – until she heard people yell about a shooter.

‘We just start running in the opposite direction,’ she told The Associated Press. Her 5-year-old son was riding his bike decorated with red and blue curled ribbons. He and other children in the group held small American flags. The city said on its website that the festivities were to include a children´s bike and pet parade.

Troiani said she pushed her son’s bike, running through the neighborhood to get back to their car. In a video that Troiani shot on her phone, some of the kids are visibly startled at the loud noise and they scramble to the side of the road as a siren wails nearby.

‘It was just sort of chaos,’ she said. ‘There were people that got separated from their families, looking for them. Others just dropped their wagons, grabbed their kids and started running.’ Matt Phillip, director of a tasting room at Lynfred Winery, said he heard ‘what sounded like fireworks’ before seeing people ‘running down the street.’

‘We opened our doors so they could either seek shelter within our facility or exit through our back-alley door.’ He says that 30 people sheltered in the store for approximately 15 minutes. Miles Zaremsky, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1960’s, said he witnessed the ‘carnage.’

‘The crowd started stampeding. I had ever seen that before. I saw blood on people’s bodies. Two or three people looked deceased to me[around 25 to 40 years of age]. It was absolutely disgusting and gut-wrenching and I was sick to my stomach.’

‘I did see a little boy [covered in blood] in his parents’ arms who looked [pale]. They were yelling for medics … It’s surreal, it’s like out of a science fiction but it is real.’

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a tweet that he is ‘closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park’ and that Illinois State Police are assisting. The ISP said in an email that it was assisting in the response to an active shooter reported around 10:24 a.m.

The Lake County Sheriff´s Office said on Twitter that it is assisting Highland Park Police ‘with a shooting in the area of the Independence Day parade route.’ The sheriff’s office directed an AP reporter to contact Highland Park Police. The Police Department said no one was immediately available to comment.

Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float with coworkers and the group was preparing to turn onto the main route when she saw people running from the area. ‘People started saying: “There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,”‘ Glickman told the Associated Press. ‘So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.’

She didn´t hear any noises or see anyone who appeared to be injured. ‘I’m so freaked out,’ she said. ‘It’s just so sad.’

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