HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - A little more than 48 hours after a gunman shot dozens of people at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade, the city’s police chief was asked if he ever believed such terror could strike his quiet community.
"Yeah, unfortunately we do know now that it can happen anywhere."
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said he was at the parade Monday morning when he heard the shots ring out.
"It sounded like a rifle," Jogmen remembered during an interview with FOX 32. "Rapid succession. But it was bouncing off the buildings, and it was really challenging to deduce where those rounds were coming from."
As he sprang into action, Jogmen said he was also thinking about his family.
"My daughter and my wife were probably about 50 feet, just under the gunman. The building next to him….I was absolutely thinking of (my family) because the last place I left them was pretty close to where some of the victims were hit."
Jogmen said the department had an operational plan in place for the parade that included extra officers. And while there will be a review, he’s satisfied with his department’s handling of the attack.
"We’ve trained for this," said Jogmen. "You hope it won’t. But there’s no doubt we prepared for it thinking someday… It’s definitely become part of life here."
How are the men and women of the Highland Park Police Department doing?
"I definitely appreciate you asking that," said Jogmen. "I would say no question the whole community is grieving. And I can tell you our officers here, they are wearing this very heavy."
"I don’t quite know what it’s going to do to me or our officers," he added. "It’s going to have an effect. You can’t un-see the things you’ve seen, and it’s going to have an effect on our community members and kids who were there."
Jogmen said he came to Wednesday morning’s 6 a.m. roll call at Highland Park Police Headquarters to speak to his officers directly. "Told them I was proud of them. I really was."
The breakthrough in the case was the suspect’s rifle, which ATF agents quickly traced to Bobby Crimo III, who a number of officers recognized from interactions in the past.
And Jogmen credits the community for assisting their investigation, especially the civilian who saw Crimo‘s car and notified police.
"I really do believe, knowing this community and already seeing where they’re coming from, we’re gonna support those who lost their loved ones, and we’re certainly going to work to try to heal those who are still here."