The 21-year-old suspected of killing seven people and injuring dozens more over the weekend during Highland Park, Illinois’ July 4th parade has allegedly confessed, prosecutors say.
The suspect, who is not being named per Daily Wire policy, allegedly told police that he fired more than 80 shots from a rooftop above the parade route, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon told the judge at the Lake County courthouse on Wednesday that the suspect made “a voluntary statement confessing to his actions.”
Dillon further told the judge that the suspect, who faces seven counts of first-degree murder, confessed to finding a position on a rooftop along the parade route and “looked down his sights and opened fire.” Dillon added that police discovered 83 shell casings on that rooftop.
Five people died at the scene, while two more died after being taken to a hospital. More than two dozen people were hit during the attack.
The suspect was concerned that police would recognize him following the shooting, so he dressed in women’s clothing and makeup to cover his tattoos and avoid detection. He climbed down a fire escape and disappeared into the crowd, leaving the rifle he used on the rooftop. Police were able to identify him from surveillance cameras, however.
The suspect then went to his mother’s house and drove her car to Madison, Wisconsin in a possible attempt to throw off authorities. The suspect left his phone, which was being tracked by police, in Madison, and then drove back to Chicago where he was arrested.
While the suspect had no criminal record, he had been on the police’s radar due to two calls from family members in 2019. The first call came in response to a suicide attempt, and the second came from a family member who said the suspect threatened to “kill everybody.” That family member also told police at the time that the suspect had a large collection of knives. Police removed 16 knives, one dagger, and one sword from the suspect’s home before filing a “clear and present danger report” with the Illinois State Police, the Sun-Times reported.
Despite this determination, the suspect was able to purchase the firearms used in the Independence Day attack because his father co-signed his Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, something all gun owners in Illinois must have, The Daily Wire reported. At the time the card was issued, the suspect was just 19, even though the minimum age in Illinois to purchase a firearm is 21.
His bail was denied on Wednesday. While he is thus far charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, he also faces “dozens” more charges in relation to Monday’s shooting, according to Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart.
This report has been updated to include additional information.