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The Situation Room
CNNHN: Police Update Public on Capture of Suspect Involved in Parade Shooting; Authorities Remain Transparent with Information They Have About the Suspect; President Biden Urges Federal Law Enforcement Resources to Help with the Investigation. Aired 7:45-9p ET
Aired July 04, 2022 - 19:45 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're now getting an update from local law enforcement in Highland Park, Illinois. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN LIVE EVENT)
LOU JOGMEN, CHIEF OF POLICE HIGHLAND PARK, ILLINOIS: Ultimately there were able to get the subject stopped at Westleigh and 41 in Lake Forest. The subject was taken into custody without incident. So, at this point, I again, want to reiterate things are moving very quickly, as they do, unfortunately. And we just want to keep you updated with the most relevant information.
The person of interest is now begin taken to the Highland Park Police Department where we're going to begin the, you know, the next phase of the investigation and speak with this person to make sure or see if, in fact, he is connected to this incident.
So, that's really where we're at right now. I would say, barring anything significant coming out of that interview, this probably would be our last press conference for this evening. We'll see how things go, but not sure how that's all going to work out. As you know, it's a work in progress. So, please bear with us and let the process play out. Appreciate it.
I can take any quick questions, but I may not have the information because we're talking 15 minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): Was there a chase at all?
JOGMEN: There was a brief pursuit, absolutely. A brief pursuit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): High speed?
JOGMEN: I don't have the speeds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): How were officers able to get him to stop? JOGMEN: He ultimately came to a stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): The person of interest that we're talking about here is --
JOGMEN: Robert Crimo, III. That is correct. The person we came out initially and gave you the information on. He -- he --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): That stop ended at Westleigh and 41?
JOGMEN: Westleigh and 41.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): Who spotted him (ph)?
JOGMEN: It was a North Chicago Police Officer who was stationed on 41 with his eyes open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): And what would it take for this person of interest to be referred to as a suspect?
JOGMEN: Again, yes we're going to have to positively connect him to the scene. And really, we want to do our due diligence, you know, put the name out there. We want to make sure we have a number of things that would imply that, you know, this is a good person of interest.
But in, you know, due deference we want to make sure. And you all understand that. We want to make sure that we're following the process and doing everything we need to do to bring this to a successful conclusion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): Do you know, was he alone?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): (Inaudible) and I.D. of the (inaudible). Can you tell us any more about --
JOGMEN: Yes, at this point I can't. Just, that's where we're at.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): Do you know if he was alone?
JOGMEN: I don't know that answer. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): He was spotted in North Chicago --
JOGMEN: North Chicago on 41.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): -- Lake Forest?
JOGMEN: That is correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): Did you say, Westleigh?
JOGMEN: Westleigh. Westleigh.
(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): Westleigh. Oh, W-E-S-T-L-E-I-G-H.
JOGMEN: Thanks (ph) (inaudible). Correct. All right, so again, unless something significant happens tonight, you know, we're going to let the process play out. We are still continuing to process any information that's coming in.
We certainly want to make sure that if anybody's got information, video or anything of that nature to please, this doesn't necessarily mean it's over, but we're certainly -- we're encouraged that we have a person of interest. But, again, we're going to pursue and continue to pursue everything that comes in. So, thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): How will you let us know if (inaudible).
CHRIS COVELLI, DEPUTY CHIEF LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS: We'll -- we'll advise you if there's going to be another press update. And just to reiterate one thing the chief said, it -- to name a person of interest doesn't come lightly. There is a lot of investigative work that has gone into this.
We've got, as mentioned before, hundreds of investigators here on scene, from our federal partners, Highland Park Police, Lake County Major Crime doing an incredible job. They've processed a significant amount of digital evidence today, which helped lead investigators in this direct. So, calling somebody a suspect or person of interest it's really synonymous, OK.
So, this individual is believed to have believed to have been responsible for what happened and the investigation will continue. Charges have not been approved yet at this time and we're a long way from that.
There's still a long investigation and there are a lot of efforts that are going to continue tonight. So, if we have more information later on we will certainly update the media so it can get out to the community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): Can you (inaudible)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): Yes.
COVELLI: I'm sorry, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (off-camera): Which agency actually arrested Crimo?
COVELLI: So, North Chicago Police initially spotted the vehicle. They called in reinforcements and a number of area police officers responded to that scene. And it was a collaborative effort to take him into custody. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): Can you guys say and spell your name again? Especially you.
JOGMEN: Jogmen. J-O-G-M-E-N.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): And what's your first name?
JOGMEN: First name, Lou. L-O-U. Chief of Police Highland Park.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (off-camera): OK, great. Thank you very much.
COVELLI: OK, thank you.
(END LIVE EVENT)
BLITZER: All right, so there's major news right now. We just heard from local law enforcement over there in Highland Park, Illinois, that they believe they have captured, arrested this suspect, this person of interest, Robert E. Crimo in North Chicago somewhere.
They believe that this is the suspect who is responsible. They made it clear that this individual, they believe, was responsible for that mass shooting in Highland Park earlier today at this 4th of July parade that was going on.
Andrew McCabe, this is significant right now. They believe they got their man.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ANALYST: They do. They do. And I think what you just saw was another professional, transparent and very careful press release by the Highland Park P.D. They've done an amazing job of this all day and they should get a lot of credit for that.
They're being careful about only referring to him as a person of interest because they want to tie off very clearly a connection between him and this shooting. So, for instance, they may have landed upon his identity by finding the abandoned firearm and then tracing back that firearm to who they believe held it at that moment.
And that's how they get to Crimo's name. They want to see actual video coverage, surveillance video coverage of him on the rooftop. They would like him to admit that he was the shooter. He may do that in a conversation with law enforcement tonight. So, once they've crossed over absolutely positively identifying him as the shooter then you're going to hear him referred to as a subject or even a defendant once he's charged.
BLITZER: Well, they made the point that it's really significant that it's not easy. They don't do it lightly, to name someone as a person of interest or a suspect, especially when it comes to a mass murder like this.
MCCABE: That's absolutely right. Now, you know, that doing that. And I remember this very well, Wolf, I was closely involved in the decision to release the photographs of the Boston Marathon bombers and we knew at that moment, as soon as we put those photographs out we were basically unleashing the public to finding this person.
And all -- that can go in all kinds of directions and it can be very hard to control. So, it's something that law enforcement does very carefully. They do it when they're pretty confident that they have the photograph of the person involved and also when it's absolutely essential to find that person to prevent further acts of violence. That's clearly what they did in this case.
BLITZER: Yes, it's really important there that they bring the public in to help locate this person of interest, this suspect. Peter Licata, let me get your reaction as well to the major breaking news we just heard from local law enforcement in Highland Park, Illinois. They believe they have now apprehended this individual. That he is now in the custody of the police force.
PETER LICATA, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The investigation now really just begins. So, much to what Andrew was saying, a person of interest will slowly turn into a subject or a suspect or somebody that's indicted. So, a custodial interview is taking place, OK.
We're -- they're tying in physical evidence to see if matches Crimo, whether it's fingerprints on shell casings that were collected at the crime scene. It's also searches at his residence, wherever it is he lives, or his apartment or whoever he lives with. All those searches are going on.
And what law enforcement needs to do in conjunction with the prosecution, whether it's state or federal, is they want to make sure no shortcuts are being taken and that everything is done deliberately, methodically and within the confines of the rule of law for that jurisdiction.
BLITZER: And, Andrew McCabe, I thought it was really significant when they said it was a Chicago Police Force individual that spotted the vehicle that this suspect was driving in and they went in and had other police join in this in encircling this vehicle, eventually going and arresting -- or presumably arresting this individual, Robert E. Crimo III, this 22-year-old that they call a suspect, a person of interest in this mass murder.
MCCABE: Wolf, I call tell you, there's probably not a single lawman in the Chicago land area that wasn't out with his eyes open looking to see if he could find this guy this afternoon.
This is part of the mutual aid system that adjacent police agencies maintain with each other. It's why it's so important to put out a BOLO or a Be On Alert notice when you're looking for someone who is a fugitive from a crime or involved in a violent act like this because you take advantage of that force multiplier of having police officers in other jurisdictions nearby who are just as likely to come across your subject as you are. And that's, in fact, what happened here.
A North Chicago police officer who was set up in one particular spot where, I guess, they probably anticipated traffic might be coming through, and he was alert, knew what to look for because undoubtedly had seen a photograph and knew the vehicle description and the license plate. And that's how you catch people.
BLITZER: And I think it's fair to say, Peter, that if this individual, Robert E. Crimo III, there you see the wanted poster that went up, as you see a picture of the vehicle as well.
If he had gotten further into Chicago, this was in the northern part of Chicago, not too far away from Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago to the north. If he would have gotten any further into the city it might have been more difficult to locate this individual. Is that right?
LICATA: It's absolutely right. Not only as he gets into a more populous urban area when you can hide, you can kind of hide in plain sight, but now law enforcement would have had to deal with the fact that it's getting dark. Evenings approaching, darkness approaching in the Midwest, you know, in the Central time zone.
So, that being said is the fact that they have him now, law enforcement, the public at large can take a big sigh, a breath of relief because he's in custody, and let the investigation play itself out.
BLITZER: Yes, certainly. So, what happens now, Andrew? Now that they believe this person of interest, this suspect, is in police custody, can folks in that area, in Highland Park and elsewhere in the Chicago area, can they relax a little bit? Go out and celebrate a little of the 4th of July that's remaining?
MCCABE: Sure they can. There's no indication from the beginning of this that there were two people or more than one person involved. I think it's -- I think people can take that sigh of relief, that the person who is likely the perpetrator of this terrible attack is in custody and is no longer a threat.
Look, I'm a -- I'm a lawman, so I'm always worried about the next attack and the next threat. You raised the issue earlier on the broadcast, Wolf, of copycats. There's no question that every one of these mass shootings has an inspirational effect on other angry heavily armed young men with grievances about one thing or another.
So, we always have the chance that this person's actions could cause someone else, inspire someone else to go out and act as soon as tonight. There's going to be other large gatherings. But, you know, that's not for the general public to worry about.
MCCABE: People should enjoy their evening and try to enjoy the holiday.
BLITZER: If we can. All right, guys, thank you very much. Don't go too far away. We're staying all over the breaking news, major breaking news unfolding. They think they have this suspect, this person of interest in custody right now. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: You're looking at live pictures coming in our affiliate in Chicago WLS has these live pictures coming in. That's the silver Honda that local police believe was being driven, was being used by Robert E. Crimo III. The suspect who has now been detained by police. He's in police custody right now, the 22-year-old believed to have been responsible for this mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois earlier today on this July 4. There was a parade going on when the shooting began.
It's part of the breaking news we're following right now once again, this person of interest is now in custody, following the picture that was released. The parade shooting that killed six people, injured dozens more in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. We're getting new details right now this hour about the horrifying attack and the suspect who once again is now in police custody.
We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. And this is the Situation Room Special Report.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The breaking news tonight, the person of interest in this mass shooting that killed six wonderful, innocent people, today's July 4 parade at Highland Park, Illinois, is now in custody. We're talking about this individual Robert E. Crimo III apprehended after a rather brief pursuit. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is in Highland Park for us. She's been covering this story. Also joining us, CNN Security Correspondent Josh Campbell. Adrian, let me start with you, what's the latest you're picking up there?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, just moments ago, we did hear from members of law enforcement saying that 22-year-old person of interest is in police custody. They arrested that person about five miles or so from the crime scene here in Highland Park. They found him on a highway heading north toward Wisconsin.
Now, investigators did say, and I want to be very clear that they're taking, transporting that person back to the Highland Park Police Department for questioning. But before calling this 22-year-old whose picture we have been showing you, a suspect they want to positively connect him to the scene. A member of law enforcement during that last media update saying they have a number of things, "that imply this is a person of interest," but they want to be certain that they have the right person in police custody. That person was taken without incident. There was a short pursuit before that 22-year-old According to investigators came to a stop and he was spotted by a police officer with the North Chicago Police Department. That officer called for backup and a short pursuit ensued.
Meanwhile, I did reach out to some of the parade goers that we spoke with earlier in the day who was here specifically Zoe (ph), who saw people die in front of her eyes. She says she can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this person of interest is in custody. And she also said her father is friends with the person of interest's father, and she described that family as wonderful. Wolf.
BLITZER: That's pretty unusual. All right, we'll get more information on that part of the story as well. Adrienne don't go too far away.
Josh Campbell, I take it you're not far away from where this vehicle was stopped, this silver Honda where this Robert E. Crimo III, the suspect, the person of interest was apprehended. Tell us what you're seeing, what you're hearing?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. I want to show you the shot right now, this from our CNN Live View app, you can see that vehicle there in the center of the screen is believed to be this individual's car, this suspected silver Honda Fit.
Now, just to describe for you what happened here about 25 minutes ago, I was over near where the actual shooting took place, obviously, heavy police presence over there. And that's about four or five miles away from where we are here. We saw a flurry of police activity and number of vehicles flying out of that location, including some of these sub urbans with tactical SWAT officers. And then there was a BearCat also that came through here, going up to that vehicle. And then the police officers you see here off to the screen, they just swarmed onto this location. Again, we believe this was the scene of where that arrest went down.
Now, there are a number of officers who were here off to my right that we just spoke with, a time ago. And they said that they're still holding this location, securing it because the vehicle itself is not yet secure. They're still waiting on elements from the bomb squad, the Ordnance Disposal teams to come in and try to render that vehicle safe. This again, just about four or five miles from where that location was, a heavy police presence but we believe that this was the scene where that arrest went down. Again, you can see the vehicle now there, just sitting police in no hurry to process that car.
We did see a short time ago, then bring in some canines that swept that vehicle just one way the officer said it was just an initial sweep. But they're waiting on additional assets to come out here and to process that vehicle. Obviously, the good news this individual now in custody, but they still have work to do with that vehicle. That is a lot of potential evidence inside. Obviously, we don't know if there are additional weapons, if there are additional pieces of evidence that officers will be looking for inside that vehicle. But that processing, we're told is supposed to start here momentarily. Just as soon as these Ordnance Disposal officers arrive on scene. Wolf.
BLITZER: And Josh, that's standard operating procedure after a suspect, a person of interest, who is suspected of being involved in this mass murder is apprehended in that vehicle, they go through a very, very serious search of that vehicle. And as you correctly point out we did see pictures --
CAMPBELL: If you could still hear me (inaudible) but that is standard practice. Indeed, officers obviously on a heightened state of alert. They know that this individual has already allegedly engaged in this act of violence, obviously, causing just immense tragedy here in this area. And so they're not going to rush as they try to process that scene. Again, they know that the suspect is armed. Obviously, he's been considered armed and dangerous. We know that they located one weapon, but we've seen a number of these shootings where a suspect will have multiple weapons, sometimes incendiary devices as well. And so that's why we see this heavy police presence out here. They have this whole neighborhood here shut down.
And I can tell you just incredible being the first reporter here on the scene with these police officers because some of the officers didn't know exactly what was going on as they rolled up. You could tell that they were spreading word of mouth by each of the agencies, each of the departments here and the look of sigh of relief certainly on their faces. But again, the work is still ahead of them on the scene as they continue to process the forensic side of this, bring in those bomb technicians. You can see a number of personnel there on the other side of the vehicle right now. It doesn't look like they believe that there's any type of imminent threat, you would see personnel just there waiting around the vehicle but we're told that they were there waiting for additional resources to come in to do a front to rear assessment of this vehicle at a surge. So they know what they're dealing with. Wolf.
BLITZER: Yeah, that's so, so important. You know, were you surprised, Josh, and you used to be in law enforcement over at the FBI. Were you surprised that it only took maybe an hour and a half if that by the time they released the photo of this individual Robert E. Crimo III, they released the information about the silver Honda that license plate and all that? Were you surprise it only took maybe an hour or an hour and a half for this individual to be apprehended?
Unfortunately, I think we've lost our connection with Josh. We'll get back to him. But let's bring in Phil Mudd and Peter Licata, who are also watching what's going on. Let me ask you that question, Peter Licata, did -- were you surprised that it happened as quickly as it did within an hour, an hour and a half of releasing the picture of the individual describing the vehicle that, that individual had this silver Honda, that this individual was apprehended?
LICATA: No, actually, I'm not, Wolf. We talked about in the previous segments, my other colleagues there as we said. He couldn't make a movie. He couldn't get gas. He couldn't use his phone. He couldn't use a credit card purchase, CCTV is everywhere in this day and age, at any fast food restaurant and even if you meant to eat, that being said is as we say his world got smaller and smaller and smaller in this case by probably the minute, let alone the hour.
[20:10:13] So the fact that he was caught that quickly is definitely a credit to the investigators, state police, the FBI and all the other agencies that participated in the investigation to this point and the arrest.
BLITZER: Let me just bring back, I think we've reconnected with Josh Campbell. He's there on the scene where this vehicle was stopped, the individual, the person who the suspect was picked up, and just set the scene once again, for viewers who may just be tuning in right now, Josh, tell our viewers what you're seeing, what you're hearing over there?
CAMPBELL: Well, Wolf, we see this large police presence, as I pan here, you can see a number of patrol vehicles obviously offers officers here from the state police as well gathered, their helicopters that are overhead. And that in the foreground there you see that small vehicle is, we believe, the individual who was considered a person of interest in this mass shooting today at that holiday parade.
This area, obviously, just a normal intersection here in this suburban area, I was told that the suspect was taken into custody without incident. And since then, I was over by the actual area where the shooting was. And again, we saw this flood of police coming out just dozens and dozens of vehicles, including these tactical vehicles, armored vehicles coming to this location, which would make sense that being the location where they think -- we think this is where the shooter was taken into custody, obviously, bringing in those additional assets out of an abundance of caution. And now since then, you've seen a number of officers show up this entire intersection here, in multiple directions for blocks and blocks has been completely shut down.
I was the first reporter who was here. But since then police have set up a perimeter and they started to push some people back a little bit farther. I suspect that they're going to push us back a little more here as additional resources come in. But again, this is what we believe to be where this man has terminated. This intersection where this individual was taken into custody, again, I'm told by officers here on the scene that the reason why it looks static, that they are just waiting kind of here in place, you do see a number of officers that are walking up to near the vehicle. But we're told the reason they're holding the scene is because they need to process that vehicle. As you and I were just discussing a moment ago, obviously this person armed and dangerous, we know that he used a high powered rifle. Authorities are leaving nothing to chance, they want to ensure that there aren't additional weapons, perhaps any incendiary types -- type devices. And obviously now with the suspect in custody. Time is on their side. They don't have to rush it. They want to make sure that this area is rendered safe before they release this intersection before we see these officers leave here, the scene and then that vehicle ultimately towed away, Wolf, for evidence.
BLITZER: That's really important information, Josh. Thank you very much. Phil Mudd, walk us through what the law enforcement is doing right now, with this vehicle. What are they worried about specifically? We saw the canines, we saw the dogs sniffing over there. PHILIP MUDD, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: I mean, there's two pieces of this. If you look at the vehicle, Wolf, and you look at the dog sniffing in the vehicle, that first question is obviously going to be imminent threat, are there for example, explosive devices on the -- in the vehicle, you're going to look for additional weapons. And then you go beyond that in terms of not only the vehicle, but what's going on with the investigation as someone who's an analyst and investigations like this. The first question you have is not motive, it's not why, it is whether there's an additional imminent threat out there.
Andy McCabe said something a few minutes ago, I think is dead on. If you're thinking of going to Fourth of July, I would go. That said if you're inside the investigation, the first question of the subject has to be, was there anybody else involved? Did anybody else travel with you? Did anybody else help you? Even if you think the answer is zero, you have to ask that.
And the second interesting thing I'd ask related to the vehicle, if there's a device like a phone in there or the subject, can they access the phone? Because the question I would have related to imminent threat is if the subject says I didn't talk to anybody, and there's a flurry of phone calls or text messages, you got a problem. If you say you didn't talk to anybody, and you're texting people beforehand, who were they and were they involved? I'd be clear, I doubt that's the case. But you got to go down that path right now, Wolf.
BLITZER: You certainly do. And Andrew McCabe, it was certainly crucial that they were able to find this suspect so quickly, within an hour, hour and a half or so after releasing the photo and the description of the silver Honda, the vehicle, they found this suspect before he could get away too far. And make it even more difficult, that was really crucial, right?
MCCABE: No question. No question and it's, you know, one of the reasons why it is so hard for people to go on the run right now once they are publicly identified or photographs are out there, it just -- there are very few places that you can hide. It's not impossible, but it becomes, you know, tougher every minute every hour. Proximity to the crime is when law enforcement is in their best position to try to find that person and just really beat the bushes until they can turn him up.
I think it's also important to note here as we're watching this video, there's no question that they're using canines to sniff the vehicle for all the reasons that Phil and Josh have said. They're concerned as a preliminary matter about explosive devices potentially in a car. But it's likely they haven't had any positive hits from that canine because you see, police officers and FBI SWAT officers standing very close to the vehicle. If they were really concerned that there was probably something in there, you'd see a perimeter, much further setback, you'd see a bomb, the Ordnance Disposal folks with some other resources in place. The fact that they're kind of lingering around the vehicle and waiting for others to show up is a pretty good indication that they are waiting for the bomb folks to give it the final blessing. And then to have the evidence response professionals go in there and make sure that everything is preserved from that vehicle. And we don't lose a single piece of evidence.
BLITZER: Yeah, the dogs were sniffing. So the dogs were sniffing to see if there's any bombs or anything like that, or anything else dangerous inside apparently, the authorities believed they could get close enough to the vehicle they've dealt with that.
You know, Phil Mudd, clearly the suspect, they -- the police say is now in custody. But the public can still help with this investigation. Individuals who may know something about this, this suspect, Robert E. Crimo III or may know something about his background or whatever, they can still provide information, right?
MUDD: Heck of a lot. Think of this as a ripple effect in a pond. The first piece of the ripple is what we talked about a moment ago, that is imminent threat. The second ripple piece would be whether there's someone else involved in a conspiracy, for example, does somebody call in and say, hey, he was best friends with Joe, you go talk to Joe and realize that Joe was aware of this or Mary or John was aware of this event beforehand, so that the second effect would be whether there are people who, even though they didn't participate in the event might have been aware or assisted, who provided the weapon? What was the psychological state of the person beforehand, you think even as far afield as red flag laws?
Going ahead, friends and family, we'll be talking about whether this person exhibited some kind of behavior, for example, before they acquired or purchased a weapon that will allow policymakers to say that's the kind of behavior, we want to look out with red flag laws. The first question is getting the guy. But after that, Wolf, man, there are a ton of questions you got to answer here.
BLITZER: Yeah, and the public can certainly help. And if you know something about this individual, call the FBI, call local law enforcement, call 911. Your information could be extremely important. Indeed. All right, guys. Thank you very, very much. Andrew McCabe, Phil Mudd, Peter Licata, we'll get back to you, so don't go too far away.
Much more of our breaking news coverage straight ahead. Illinois Governor says he's furious that mass shootings have become, in his words, a weekly American tradition. I'm quoting him now and an Illinois State Representative, whose district includes Highland Park is standing by Live. Will join us when we come back.
BLITZER: We're back on this very, very difficult Independence Day evening, where more families are in mourning after yet another deadly mass shooting here in the United States. This time in Highland Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Police now have the person of interest they were looking for, that person is now in custody. Joining us on the phone is State Representative, the state representative who represents the district of Highland Park. He was also there at the parade this morning. He was a witness. Bob Morgan is joining us.
Representative Morgan, thank you so much for joining us. First of all, how are you holding up? How are you doing?
BOB MORGAN, (D) ILLINOIS STATE HOUSE, WITNESSED PARADE SHOOTING: It's been a really tough day, Wolf, very tough for pretty much everyone in our community.
BLITZER: Must be awful. As I said to you before, I wish we were meeting under different circumstances. Let me get your reaction to the news. And this is major news that the suspect has been taken into custody. What's your reaction to that?
MORGAN: Yeah, this whole day has been just so horrible and horrifying for so many reasons. It was just a little sense of relief. As all day I've been getting texts and calls from neighbors and friends, we literally locked in their houses right now, waiting for the OK to come out of their own homes on the Fourth of July. So it's some semblance of relief. And it just allows us to focus on the other bloodshed that happened earlier today.
BLITZER: Representative Morgan, you were there at the parade when the shooting happened. Tell us what you saw and what you heard when it all started?
MORGAN: My Parade Float was about two blocks away from the shooting. We heard rapid fire, sounded like firecrackers very quickly became clear it was it was gun violence. We saw a lot of people running in all directions trying to get away from that section. And once I got my volunteers and my family I was there with my children and my wife, once I got them to safety. I myself and a few others went frankly right to the scene to see what we could do to help and it was a pretty horrible scene, it was exactly what you would imagine seeing gunshot victims and just seeing a horrible scene of just marring this amazing day that everyone was so excited to be at and there were so many happy faces in so many parade floats and just to see it all like the way with this one person.
BLITZER: Give us a sense and you know the community Highland Park very well, give us a sense of what Highland Park that community there is like? I've been there many, many times over the years, going back to when I was a little boy. I have relatives who live there. But it's a beautiful little community.
MORGAN: I love Highland Park. It's definitely a crown jewel of my community and always has been and credible businesses, small businesses and a lot of diversity and things that they care about the impact communities other than their own. And that's one of the most dramatic things about it to me which is Highland Park is an incredibly activist community where they try and help those who are less fortunate. And to have this happen in downtown Highland Park was -- it was just so cruel and so horrible. [20:25:15]
BLITZER: Yeah. And if it could happen in Highland Park, it could happen anywhere in our country. Representative Morgan. Thank you for joining us. And good luck to you and good luck to your family dealing with all of this, I appreciate it very much.
MORGAN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, a person of interest is now in custody in this truly horrific July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, but six families tonight are grieving the loss of their loved ones, we have new details straight ahead.
BLITZER: President Biden saying tonight that he's shocked by yet another mass shooting that's killed at least six innocent people in Highland Park, Illinois, and he's pledging the full support of the federal government in the investigation. Let's go to our Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly, he's joining us once again. Update our viewers on the latest, Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the White House tonight is like so many homes, so many communities around the country a split screen of trying to celebrate the nation's independence, July 4, while also trying to grapple with yet another tragedy.
Just a short while ago, President Biden introducing a musical act to the gathered military families here on the South Lawn for that July 4 celebration calling for a moment of silence, making clear more needs to be done.
And the president has been engaged throughout the course of this day, phoning the Illinois Governor, the Mayor of Highland Park, and directing federal law enforcement to surge as they work through the manhunt for the suspect -- for the individual that they were interested in. The president also making an allusion to the Gun Law that he just signed a few weeks ago, and that more needs to be done. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Before I left for Europe, I signed a law, the first real gun safety law in 30 years. And things will get better still but not without more hard work together. You all heard what happened -- you all heard what happened today. But each day, we're reminded there's nothing guaranteed about our Democracy. Nothing is guaranteed about our way of life. We have to fight for it, defend it, and earn it by voting to refine, evolve, and extend the calling of America and to move forward boldly and unafraid.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: And, Wolf, this is a moment the president has had to deal with far too often in his first term. Just a few weeks ago, it was mass shootings in Buffalo, obviously, the mass shooting in Uvalde, now, another mass shooting today. The president making clear even though he got that gun legislation signed into law, the most substantial in more than 30 years, more work needs to be done, something today demonstrated once again when it comes to gun violence, Wolf.
BLITZER: Absolutely. Phil Mattingly over at the White House, thank you very, very much. Also, tonight, we're starting to learn more about the victims. CNN National Correspondent Brynn Gingras has that part of the story for us. Brynn, tell our viewers what you're learning.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, well, you mentioned we know about six people that were killed, five of them, their bodies found there at the scene. We know from the coroner that all of them were adults. We're still working to identify the names of those individuals but it's possible, that they are still trying to actually locate family members for some of these individuals, perhaps, some of them actually where family there at the parade route. So, we will get you updated on that as soon as we know. But we also know there were dozens -- more than about 30, Wolf, victims of this parade -- shooting, several of them being brought to area hospitals.
There are three major hospitals in that area surrounding that parade route and one of them that received the most said that they had 26 people come in, 25 of them, Wolf, had gunshot wounds. And the ages range from eight years old all the way up to 85 years old, four to five of those -- in that-- in those victims lists, just children. So, it's just heartbreaking to hear about this. I want you to hear from the fire chief about what they encountered in the direct aftermath after these shots rang out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCHARGE, CHIEF, HIGHLAND PARK FIRE DEPARTMENT: So, they were gunshot wounds and it buried from the abdomen to limbs and such but the crews were on-scene very quickly, there were bystanders as well that rendered aid as well. They were, quick to tie tourniquets and do bleeding control, which definitely assisted the fire department on- scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: That's heroic work from the people there on the scene and the paramedics. We also heard from the doctors at that hospital, who -- which received the most victims, they said this was surreal, this is something though that they trained for, there were nurses that were working on multiple victims at one time, also trying to just connect people who were outside the hospital with the family that was inside the hospital, so, such a chaotic scene. If there's any good news, Wolf, to report it's that, that hospital, in particular, had 19 people discharged today so, that's good news. That number possibly has gone up since this last update we had was a couple of hours ago. And actually, I just talked to a woman whose sister was a gunshot wound victim and she said -- she told me she's doing OK. So, listen, there is some good news from this but, of course, the bigger, sadder news here, Wolf, is that six victims -- fatal victims, all of them adults to our knowledge, and then one more who died at the hospital from this mass shooting.
BLITZER: Yes, horrible situation indeed. Brynn Gingras, I know you're working on your sources over there. We'll stay in touch with you. Thank you very much. We want to show our viewers right now some very dramatic video of the attack that is just in. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: This is gunfire that -- those shots are awful. Let's get some more in the breaking news right now, joining us, CNN Senior Law Analyst, Andrew McCabe, CNN Counterterrorism Analyst and former CIA counterterrorism official, Phil Mudd, and CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and former FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Peter Licata. Andrew, President Biden is urging -- he's urging federal law enforcement resources right now to help with his investigation. What sort of critical help can the Feds offer local officials?
MCCABE: Well, Wolf, it's not surprising that in the wake of a massive tragedy like this, where you are relying on an appeal to the public to provide as much information as they possibly can to the local officials, that can quickly outstrip your local police department's capability of receiving and analyzing that digital data. So, you want to see every video that anyone took in that general area, all those things are going to be analyzed to see if the subject appears in any of them and it could show his movements were how he approached the scene, things like that, that are of interest to the investigators.
But boy, it's crushing to receive that sort of information. I remember, when we requested that sort of help in the Boston Marathon bombing, we quickly overloaded the FBI's capacity to receive digital evidence, and it knocked our servers right offline, so we had to do a little quick scrambling to get that stuff in. So, that kind of help can be of great assistance to a smaller department that doesn't have those sorts of, kind of high-tech resources.
BLITZER: Yes, good point. You know, Phil, I know -- we all know you worked at the CIA, but you're also detailed to the FBI for part of your federal government career. What was your reaction first of all, to that video we just showed our viewers and the gunfire that we heard?
MUDD: Boy, I had to step back and try to take out the tragedy of it and put my analyst hat on and tell me, what did that say about the psychology of the shooter? It's told me a couple of things that I've learned in the past 30 minutes or so. The first is, firing indiscriminately, Wolf, if you ask me about the motive of the shooter when you're firing me indiscriminately like that, you're persuading me that he did not have an individual target, in a lot of these cases, you're saying, someone might have had a workplace issue, there might have been a domestic violence issue. This person, evidently based on what I'm seeing just went in and said I'm going to fire indiscriminately, no real target.
The person is then taking another piece of data we just learned, picked up about 90 minutes later that tells me the person's emotional state was invested in the event, I'm going to kill people, not invested in the escape. Most people I see in this situation -- in a situation like this are spending most of their time saying I want to go commit a horrible act. They don't step back and say -- and spend time saying, if I get out alive, where do I go? So, in some ways, this fits the model of what we see in other cases -- in other cases of individual shooters, who don't have a particular target and don't have an exit.
BLITZER: You know, Peter Licata, you're a former FBI Supervisor -- Supervisory Special Agent, officials so far, aren't revealing much about the weapon that was used, but they're calling it a high-powered rifle, that follows a pattern for shootings like this, what does that tell you?
LICATA: It -- we're going to -- we're going back into the gun control, we're going to go back into that law that was just recently passed. It just means these weapons are easily accessible. And, you know, as former law enforcement and somebody that worked high-profile crime scenes, I got to be honest with you, I don't --I don't really need people out there taking shots at me while I'm trying to work or I'm trying to enjoy a parade. There's the political expect -- aspect of this that probably not best for me to go into right now as a law enforcement subject matter expert, but weapons are easy to get, as somebody above the law enforcement, still have friends that are there, you know, I'm concerned for their safety. And, the more people that have these weapons that aren't mentally stable, the more danger law enforcement puts themselves in just by -- just by being there.
BLITZER: Yes, clearly, something's got to be done. Peter Licata, thank you very much. Phil Mudd, Andrew McCabe, thanks to you as well. We'll get back to all of you. Just ahead. The tight-knit community of Highland Park, Illinois, and the country, everyone is grieving right now. A gunman firing from a rooftop at men, women, and children who gathered for a July 4 parade, a person of interest now in custody. Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, standing by live. We'll discuss it when we come back.
BLITZER: More now in the breaking news, the subject of an intense manhunt now in custody. 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III was wanted in connection with that deadly July fourth parade shooting in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park that left six people dead and more than two dozen injured. Let's get some more reaction now from Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. She's joining us on the phone. Senator, thank you so much for joining us. First of all, what's your reaction, Senator, to the news that this person of interest, the so- called suspect has been caught?
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, first off, it's relief that he's been caught and that he's no longer on the streets. I think people can return to their homes and you know, a lot of folks in Highland Park were still sheltering and where we -- some of them sheltering in neighbor's homes or strangers' homes, folks who were at the parade were taken in by people nearby and so people can finally return home knowing that the suspect is now in custody. I'm just incredibly grateful to the police officers and first responders, especially the North Chicago police officer who you know, really spotted this person of interest and we were able to capture him.
BLITZER: They spotted the silver Honda first and then they looked inside, and they spotted this person of interest very, very significant, indeed. I know, Senator, you had a chance to speak with President Biden and the Secretary of Homeland Security today.
BLITZER: What resources do you -- is the federal government offering right now, offering to officials in Illinois in dealing with this horrific mass murder?
DUCKWORTH: Well, Secretary Mayorkas, I chat -- I chat with him today and he's offering whatever resources we may need from the federal government. But I will tell you that I am so proud of the state of Illinois and municipal police and our state troopers who have all come together. We had -- I was there on the scene at Highland Park, and there were multiple SWAT teams, as well as different units of first responders who volunteer for this additional duty as police officers on the various police forces. And they were all there, things are well in hand there in Highland Park under the leadership of Mayor Nancy Rotering, and so, I'm very, very pleased with how the -- you know, the operation would proceeded today. But yes, the federal government is offering whatever resources we need and I've also made sure that the mayor knows that, you know, I will do everything that I can to bring forward anything that she might need from the federal government.
BLITZER: What I want to do, Senator is I want to play once again -- we've done it already, but let me play it again because it's so horrific, the video, of the parade as the shooting actually started. And you'll listen, you can hear dozens of shots ring out in a very, very short amount of time. Let's play the video right now that I'll discuss with you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You earlier said, Senator, that the last time you heard something like that was when you were serving in the U.S. military in Iraq, and I know, of course, you were injured during the war. Why are weapons like that allowed on the streets of America?
DUCKWORTH: Because we can't get 60 United States Senators to vote to a ban on -- you know, we used to have an assault weapon ban in this country, and when it was allowed to expire. The number of mass shootings in this country tripled. It has tripled since the assault weapons ban was allowed to expire. And by the way, a mass shooting gun by gunfire is the number one cause of death of children under the age of 16 in this country. It is absolutely horrific. And you're right, the last time I heard that kind of gunfire on the fourth of July, I was in Iraq, and I never thought I would ever hear it on U.S. soil.
BLITZER: Yes, it must have been so painful for you to actually hear that -- those sounds and it brings back obviously, what you went through during the war in Iraq. And now to see that in of all places, a beautiful little community like Highland Park, Illinois, hard to believe this could go on in our country.
DUCKWORTH: You know, Wolf, it's hard to believe, but unfortunately, that's the reality that we are living in. We have had more mass shootings in this country this year than there have been days in the year. We have averaged one a day and actually more in this country, it's why, even though we pass gun legislation, literally about a month ago, we have to do more. We didn't ban high-capacity magazines and we didn't ban assault weapons. You know, high -- the city of Highland Park actually has an assault weapons ban but this is a great example of why we need a nationwide ban because people can go outside of the city and go purchase these weapons and then come -- take them right into places where the residents have said we don't want these weapons here. And so, I think this speaks very clearly to a need for a nationwide ban on assault weapons.
BLITZER: On this Fourth of July, Senator Tammy Duckworth, let me thank you on behalf of all of our viewers for your service to our country. Thanks very much for joining us.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you so much for having me on.
BLITZER: Coming up, an Illinois Congressman was heading to the parade in Highland Park when the gunman opened fire. Congressman Brad Schneider is standing by live. We will discuss this right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
WOLF: New details are coming into the SITUATION ROOM right now about the apprehension just a little while ago of Robert E. Crimo III, wanted in connection with a mass shooting at the fourth of July parade earlier this morning in Highland Park, Illinois. Six people are dead, more than two dozen injured. CNN Security Correspondent Josh Campbell is on the scene for us. Josh, you're there where they picked up this individual, you are not far away from that silver Honda that he was driving, what's the latest you're -- do you learning over there?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): That's right, Wolf. Well, this all came to an end very quickly. We know that the person of interest was taken into custody without incident, we're told by law enforcement officers. Now, I was over near where the shooting actually took place and we saw a flood of police vehicles starting to leave that area, which is not unusual during a manhunt. You see officers going to different locations or obviously following up on different leads. But when I saw the, what's called, the Bearcat, the armored tactical vehicles barrel out of there, I thought OK, this is -- this is obviously going to be something that's very important. So, we went up just not far from there up the road to where this -- the suspects' vehicle or a person of interest's vehicle was at rest surrounded by police officers.
At one point they brought in a dog to do a quick sweep of that vehicle and then the scene just, you know, erupted with law enforcement officers coming in from all different directions. I was actually the first reporter here filming it. And some of the officers that were showing up didn't know exactly what was happening. They were being briefed by their colleagues. But they were saying no, this is where this arrest went down. The suspects' vehicle was held there. It was swept by law enforcement officers out of an abundance of caution were told. And then just a short time ago, Wolf, actually just seconds before we came back from break, it was loaded onto a tow truck and then taken away to evidence.
But this obviously the termination of a manhunt that had this community obviously on edge with this person that authorities described as armed and dangerous out in about the community. And we know that law enforcement officers were spending hours and hours scouring this area, asking the public for assistance.
CAMPBELL: I think it was getting that information out there about the suspect's vehicle that obviously was very helpful and the description of the suspect or this person of interest, himself, but that terminating, and end this arrest, this person now in custody. I want you to listen to -- just a short time ago law enforcement officers held a press conference and talks about the status of the investigation now. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER COVELI, LAKE COUNTRY MAJOR CRIME TASK FORCE: To name a person of interest doesn't come lightly. There is a lot of investigative work that has gone into this.
LOU JOGMEN, CHIEF, HIGHLAND PARK POLICE DEPARTMENT: This doesn't necessarily mean it's over, but we're certainly -- we're encouraged that we have a person of interest but again, we're going to pursue and continue to pursue everything that comes in. So, thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL: So, Wolf, obviously, the community breathing a sigh of relief, but that said, it's also a community that is very much in mourning. We know with these victims who are now deceased after this person opened fire at this holiday parade. And obviously, Wolf, you and I have covered so many of these mass shootings. We also have to remember the injured obviously. Some of these people will likely be dealing with injuries for a very, very long time. This person, obviously just wreaking complete havoc here at this Fourth of July parade and obviously, the investigation continues. Authorities say that they continue to look to the motive. They're looking at the suspect's background, his social media, trying to answer those questions. But again, somewhat of a mixed bag here, a community relieved that there was no longer a threat out on the street, but obviously community also, Wolf, that is in mourning, at this tragic passing of the six individuals and a multitude of others that were injured in the shooting.
BLITZER: Yes, a wonderful community in Highland Park, Illinois. And as I say, if it could-- if it could happen there, it can happen anywhere all across the country. Josh Campbell, thank you very much for your excellent reporting.
It's certainly been an extremely difficult day for Highland Park, Illinois, where a parade turned deadly on this July 4th Independence Day. The person of interest is now in custody according to police. Let's discuss what's going on with Congressman Brad Schneider. Highland Park is in his district. He was en route to the parade when shots rang out. First of all, how much of a relief is it for the community, Congressman, to hear that the suspect, this person of interest, as he's described, is now in custody?
REP. BRAD SCHNEIDER (D-IL): Well, Wolf, first, thank you for having me on. My community, I live in Highland Park, we are grieving. Today was a devastating day, six families destroyed, 24 people wounded, we're praying for their recovery. And for the better part of nine hours, this community was on lockdown. People told to stay at home and shelter in place. So, there was a big sigh of relief, people will sleep perhaps a little more securely tonight but we'll have a sleep disrupted by the memories of what had happened today. This is a town that celebrates the fourth of July like so many across the country gathering together for a parade, celebrating families, people of all ages, grandparents, parents, and children. And today in Highland Park, that parade was shattered by a burst of gunfire and devastating casualties left in our town square.
BLITZER: I know you were on the way to the parade, Congressman, when the shooting happened. Tell us about the moment you learned about the massacre.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, and we -- my team -- our community likes parades. We had two yesterday, five scheduled today. Highland Park was my second one. I was just pulling into the parade area when I was talking to my team on the phone and Ari, (PH) who works with me said there were just some shots fired. Everybody is scattering, fleeing the area. So, I immediately continued -- I hadn't gotten out of my car yet. And I moved on and got out of the parade area. Actually, I saw a group of young people trying to connect with their families and I stopped to offer them to use my phone to connect with theirs.
BLITZER: I know this is your hometown, Highland Park. How devastating is it to see so much senseless bloodshed in a place you know and love so much?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, every time we see one of these shootings, this is a 308th mass shooting in this country this year, is what's being reported, that's more than almost 12 shootings every week. Every community when this happens is devastated. But when you see the pictures, you know, watching the scenes on TV and every downtown in America has certain commonalities, but this is my downtown and the people running you know are my friends and my neighbors. I recognize them. This was awful. And we're going to be grieving for a long time. This community will never be the same. But we are strong. It will take time to recover and to heal but we will lean on each other as we've done in the past and carry on forward.
BLITZER: We don't have much time but you think something can be done at the federal level to prevent shootings like these?
[21:00:00] SCHNEIDER: We have to do something. You know, after Uvalde and Buffalo, we were able to pass the bipartisan Safer Communities Act. That was a step forward, but we need to do more. We need to make sure that people who should never have a gun go through at least a background check so we can reduce and limit their access to guns. We can ban these assault weapons. These are weapons of war, they don't belong anywhere near a Fourth of July Parade. These large capacity magazines, what's been reported is that there were two 30-bullet magazines that allowed him. You heard the sounds, I think it was close to 60 shots in less than a minute. There's things we can do working together, not in a partisan way, working Republicans and Democrats across the country in trying to make the community safer to make sure our kids are safe at their schools, our communities safe with Fourth of July Parades, and our nation can address the problem that is just causing devastation day in and day out.
BLITZER: Yes, you're right. Congressman Brad Schneider, thank you so much for all your important work. Thanks so much for joining us. And to our viewers --
SCHNEIDER: Thank you.
BLITZER: -- stay tuned for more updates on today's shooting at CNN, HLN, and CNN.com. For now, I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks very much for watching.