Taylor J

Taylor J

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A Story From the Highland Park Tragedy

I told this story on the air this morning, I went to Chicago over the weekend. I have been travelling to Chicago about every other weekend in recent months, it is where I am from originally. This past weekend, I was looking forward to celebrating the Fourth of July in my favorite city and going to see Halsey! My guy friend lives in the Northshore area of Chicago. I stay with him when I visit. He is more pro-America than anyone i've ever met, so I really was excited to spend Fourth of July with him. My assumption was that we would attend an area Fourth of July parade because he even attended a Memorial Day parade, I figured, obviously, Fourth of July parades would be on our weekend agenda. Sunday, July 3rd, we went to see Halsey in the southern suburbs of Chicago (about an hour from his place). We had such a great time, Halsey rocked, the night was perfect, that as we passed the city of Chicago on the way home, we decided to go to the lake and enjoy the night! We didn't end up back home until after 2am.

Monday, July 4th, we didn't really wake up until around 10, looks like we're going to miss the Fourth of July parades. We heard sirens, not thinking anything out of the ordinary was happening. We had the TV on low, the news broke in with reports of a shooting at the Highland Park parade. Highland Park was down the street, the next suburb over. We knew why the sirens were ringing out. A mass shooting at the parade? Dave informed me that he had planned on taking me to that parade. (Thank you, Halsey, for being so great and exhausting us to the point we overslept).

We spent the entire day glued to information on wall-to-wall coverage as it was coming in. Eye witnesses were in shock, doctors on scene described the chaotic scene and how they did all they could do to render aid to the 30 victims. One doctor, Dr. Baum, talked about "efficerated" people. Unreal. He described a war scene. Three miles down the road. We actually weren't allowed to leave as the entire area was under a lockdown for a big part of the day because no one knew where the shooter may be.

We watched coverage until the "person of interests'" name was released. He was local. And then, he was caught. At this point, we thought it would be best to leave the area and see if we could clear our heads, something we had the luxury of doing as we weren't directly affected. It's awful to think about the scars that will never mentally leave so many. It broke me watching the little girls that hours after the shooting still had unbelievably shocked looks on their faces as they reunited with their parents. I will never forget those faces. Those faces should have had smiles from being in the big community parade on a family holiday!

I left Chicago yesterday, Dave remained in the North Shore. He called me on FaceTime last night. He decided to take the plunge and go to Highland Park. He's very strategic and smart and had spent most of the past several hours trying to piece the entirety of the situation together - how could this have happened, where was the shooter positioned, etc... He needed to see the scene. Police had opened up the scene a bit more and he was able to get up to a candlelight vigil. I noticed his face grow cold and silent. He encountered mourning relatives at the vigil. He is not shy, so he offered condolences and we spoke with a young man named Sergio. Sergio's 88 year old grandfather was a victim. Shot dead. 88 years old and that's how he left the Earth, senselessly. Sergio revealed to us that he knew Bobby Crimo III, the suspect! He said he never would have thought Bobby would have been capable of something so awful. He said he wasn't a quiet misfit, he did, in fact, have lots of friends and a girlfriend. How could this have happened?

Here are some pictures I screenshot as Dave walked the scene. Last night, about 36 hours after the shooting, remnants from the parade still reamined, uncollected, if to ever be collected again.


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