State Watch

Highland Park mayor: Having a handbook for mass shooting response is ‘ridiculous’

Law enforcement search in downtown Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, after a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade.
Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press
Law enforcement search in downtown Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, after a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade.

Highland Park, Ill., Mayor Nancy Rotering (D) slammed the country’s response to mass shootings after sharing that she received a handbook for mayors responding to such tragedies after a gunman opened fire at a Fourth of July parade in her city, killing seven and injuring dozens more.

“I’ve heard from so many mayors who have gone through this very experience. They have sent me the handbook that has been sent to mayors post mass shootings. What does this say about us as a country? We have a handbook for mayors after a mass shooting. That’s ridiculous,” Rotering said in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday. 

The mayor then responded to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) giving a speech on the Senate floor in the wake of the shooting about mental health, arguing that the focus in solving the issue needs to stay on guns.

“Let me be clear, there are mental health issues in every country in this world. There are not mass shootings on such a regular basis anywhere else, and this has got to stop,” Rotering said.

Rotering also described the experience of trying to search for 2-year-old Aiden McCarthy’s parents after the child was found before authorities confirmed that both his parents had been killed in the shooting, saying that the story will “haunt [her] for the rest of [her] life.”

“I got the call, ‘Whose baby is this?’ And I said, ‘How are we going to figure this out?'” Rotering said. “He had blood on his feet. He had been found under his father who was on top of him to protect him from the gun. He was being passed around in an underground garage because nobody could figure out whose child it was, and when I realized that nobody was panicking and looking for a baby, there could only be one conclusion. I almost threw up. It was unbelievable that this poor little boy came with his parents just to celebrate freedom and now has lost his parents.”

“I’m angry for my community, I’m angry for Aiden McCarthy, I’m angry for the kid who next week is going to be Aiden McCarthy. This needs to end,” the mayor added.

Officials said the suspect in the July 4 shooting, Robert Crimo III, threatened “to kill everyone” at his house in September 2019, resulting in police arriving to confiscate knives he had acquired. Crimo legally purchased the high-powered rifle and four other weapons despite those threats, according to police. The Illinois State Police said in a statement that there were no grounds to deny Crimo’s gun license application.

Authorities announced Tuesday that Crimo was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder for the mass shooting and that “dozens” of additional charges were expected.

Tags Fourth of July highland park Highland Park shooting Illinois Mass shootings Mitch McConnell Nancy Rotering
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