‘I got to have 22 years with the best mom in the world… she was my best friend’
A Highland Park shooting survivor was forced to leave her dead mother behind and flee to safety as the suspected gunman, identified by police as Robert Crimo, was “still shooting everyone”.
Cassie Goldstein, 22, was watching the Independence Day parade with her mother Katherine Goldstein, 64, in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park when the shooting began on Monday.
“I was standing there with my mom and I heard what I thought were firecrackers firing into the street across from me,” Ms Goldstein said as she recalled the moment when she saw her mother being fatally shot.
“And then I looked up and I saw the shooter shooting down at the kids,” she told NBC News. “And I told her that it was a shooter and that she had to run.”
They were running beside each other when her mother was hit by a bullet in the chest and fell to the ground.
“I knew she was dead," sy het gese. “I just told her that I loved her, but I couldn’t stop because he was still shooting everyone next to me.”
She added that she “kept running” and “hid behind a trash can”. She returned to her mother after the shooting stopped.
“She was just a good mom," sy het gese. “And I got to have 22 years with the best mom in the world… I did everything with her. She was my best friend.”
Goldstein was one of seven people who were killed in the 4 July shooting in Illinois.
Police have released the name of five other victims, including Irina McCarthy, 35 and Kevin McCarthy, 37, die parents of a two-year-old toddler; devoted synagogue member Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; 78-year-old grandfather Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza and octogenarian Stephen Strauss.
Mr Crimo has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder after the Highland Park police traced him via DNA on rifle by die 4 July parade. Indien skuldig bevind, the 21-year-old will face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
He was taken into custody on Monday evening after an hours-long manhunt around the city north of Chicago.
Highland Park police chief Lou Jogmen said a police officer pulled over Mr Crimo about five miles north of the shooting scene, several hours after authorities released his photo and an image of his silver Honda Fit with a warning to the public that he was likely armed and dangerous.
Volgens NBC 5 Chicago, Mr Crimo’s identity was first made known to authorities because of the DNA collected from the rifle discovered at the scene.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted a rapid trace of the rifle, agency spokesperson April Langwell told the Associated Press on Monday. Federal agents conduct such traces to identify when, where and to whom the gun was last sold.