Businesses sheltered Highland Park parade-goers

Midwest

(NewsNation) — Hundreds of people were sent scrambling, running for cover when a gunman fired more than 70 rounds at an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago.

Many businesses in the downtown Highland Park area offered parade-goers shelter from the gunfire, including Lindsay Meltzer, who owns Bright Bowls.

Meltzer was working inside her restaurant when she heard shots ring out. She immediately went outside to gather her family and fellow community members who were outside in front of the restaurant and ushered them inside.

“My husband jumped up and we both screamed, “Get inside, run inside.” We didn’t know how many people we were shoveling inside, we just opened the doors and said, “Go, come in, we have a basement, go downstairs,” and my staff helped shuttle everyone downstairs,” Meltzer recalled.

In the midst of what was happening outside, Meltzer’s friend, Lucy, jumped in to help keep the children who evacuated to their basement calm.

“She’s a teacher and probably the only person there that was trained on what to do in an active shooting situation. She sat down immediately with about 20 kids in a circle and started doing a calming exercise. Because I have kids, we have a stash of markers and pens and crayons and paper at the store, and we brought everything down for the kids to play with and just keep calm. They didn’t see what was going on outside after they had gone into the basement. So for all they knew, it was a play space.”

Despite the safe space, Meltzer’s 9-year-old son, the oldest of her three children, was aware of everything that took place and it has caused some anxiety for him.

“We’re trying to explain to him that these are the things life is made of these fun times that you can go experience like summer camp, taking trips with your family, and usually a parade, and once in a while someone will ruin it for you, but you keep on going,” Meltzer said.

Meltzer’s son has talked to a social worker and given the family tools on how to communicate during this time.

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