Less than two hours after six people were killed and dozens more were injured in a mass shooting during a parade in Highland Park, Illinois, Darren Bailey, the Republican candidate for governor in the state’s 2022 election, said that it was time to “move on” and continue Fourth of July celebrations elsewhere.
Bailey, a state senator and Trump-endorsed candidate who was selected by Republicans in last week’s GOP primary contest, later apologized for his statement.
The shooting occurred in the Chicago suburb just after 10 am during a parade in the city. Several videos shared on social media show paradegoers running for cover as gunshots ring out in the background. The suspected gunman, Robert Crimo III, was taken into custody several hours after the shooting.
As many political figures were expressing their condolences to the victims of the shooting and their families, Bailey suggested that it was time to continue Fourth of July revelries — even before Crimo was apprehended.
“Let’s pay for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation,” Bailey said in a Facebook livestream. In the video, Bailey is surrounded by his supporters, who hold campaign signs bearing his name.
After receiving backlash for his comments, Bailey apologized for “diminish[ing] the pain” felt by those who were affected by the shooting.
“My intent was to pray for the victims and those affected by today’s tragedy and for the shooter to be caught and prosecuted without further loss,” Bailey said.
The GOP gubernatorial candidate offered little in terms of how to prevent or respond to mass shootings. Instead, Bailey pushed for increases in policing, a method that policy experts say will not prevent more mass shootings.
Prior to Monday, there had been 306 mass shootings documented in the U.S. since the start of 2022. Gun violence in general is also remarkably high this year, with 10,072 people across the country dying as the result of accidental or purposeful shootings just halfway through 2022.
Last month, following a spate of horrific mass shootings (including at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York), Congress passed a bipartisan gun bill, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden. However, gun reform advocates have noted that the law lacks many of the measures they’ve called for, and notably, the legislation contains several provisions that will likely lead to increases in criminalization and the bloating of police budgets.
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