HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (NewsNation) — After shots rang out at a suburban Chicago Fourth of July parade, Mike McElwee, a father whose family was there during the attack, said there was “insanity.”
In the chaos that followed, McElwee briefly lost, then found, his young daughter, and his father-in-law was hit by the ricochet from a bullet.
The fragment is large, and latched onto his father-in-law’s shoulder, McElwee said. Medical staff is currently assessing their next steps in treating him, McElwee told NewsNation’s “Morning in America.”
“I’m happy to say it’s not life-threatening. Everybody’s going to be OK. We found our daughter shortly thereafter, so it could be much worse,” he said.
Seven people died, and dozens were injured, after a gunman unleashed a hail of bullets from the rooftop of a building in Highland Park. The man was arrested later that evening.
The shooting happened at a spot on the parade route where many residents staked out places to watch the festivities earlier that day. A day after the shootings, there were still baby strollers, lawn chairs and other items left at the scene by panicking paradegoers.
McElwee recounted how his family tried to get his father-in-law, who’s in his 80s, to an area where people were getting medical help. But they could see it was a triage situation, so McElwee said his family drove the older man to a nearby hospital.
“With his shoulder, it was bleeding a little bit, but it didn’t look terrible,” McElwee said.
In the aftermath of the shooting, McElwee now says, “There’s a sense of powerlessness,” especially as cops were everywhere because of the parade,
“If you’re not safe there, where are you safe?” he asked.
But McElwee acknowledged that this isn’t the first time, even recently, that this kind of attack has taken place. Since the start of the year, the U.S. has seen 15 shootings where four or more people were killed, including the one in Highland Park, according to The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University mass killing database.
“This is just the first time that it’s become incredibly close to us,” he said. “Suddenly, when you’re seeing it, it’s a lot more numbing, it’s a lot more distracting than when you hear about it in the news from someplace towns away … It just causes you to think about everything a little bit harder.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.