‘It was so close’: Family survives July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois

A Massachusetts family visiting grandparents survived the Fourth of July parade shooting in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, despite being in close proximity to the shooter.Shawn Cotreau, his wife, Jacqueline, and their three sons, 11-year-old Cole, 9-year-old Dylan, and 2-year-old Cash visit his wife’s parents in Highland Park every year for Independence Day. During Monday’s parade, Shawn Cotreau said he and his family were sitting right below the gunman, who was perched above them on the roof of the building next to them.Cotreau said the Highland Park marching band had just passed through the intersection when he and his family heard a series of pops.”I honestly thought it was firecrackers, someone just playing a joke. And then next thing I turned and looked backwards, and I see a guy with a rifle and a gun at the corner of the building just shooting down at everybody — and the bullets were hitting the tree right in front of us,” Cotreau said. “I just kind of stood there for a second. My wife screamed: ‘Get up! Get up! Run! Get up! Run!'” The Cotreaus, their three sons and Jacqueline’s parents ran for their lives, hugging the wall of the businesses until they could take cover down a side street a couple of blocks away. It would be another 25 minutes before they could reach their cars. Throughout the entire time, they did not know where the gunman had run off to. “All I could see is the shooter. That’s what I keep picturing. I saw his rifle. I saw him shooting down on us,” Shawn Cotreau added. “It was so close, so close.”Cotreau said the entire ordeal was shocking and surreal and the focus now is on his children and helping them process what they just lived through. “What I learned from this is don’t wait,” Cotreau said. “Don’t even hesitate a second. Get up and go. Even three seconds longer and those bullets could have been reaching us.”Police said the gunman who attacked an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago fired more than 70 rounds with an AR-15-style gun that killed at least seven people, then evaded initial capture by dressing as a woman and blending into the fleeing crowd.

A Massachusetts family visiting grandparents survived the Fourth of July parade shooting in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, despite being in close proximity to the shooter.

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Shawn Cotreau, his wife, Jacqueline, and their three sons, 11-year-old Cole, 9-year-old Dylan, and 2-year-old Cash visit his wife’s parents in Highland Park every year for Independence Day.

During Monday’s parade, Shawn Cotreau said he and his family were sitting right below the gunman, who was perched above them on the roof of the building next to them.

Cotreau said the Highland Park marching band had just passed through the intersection when he and his family heard a series of pops.

“I honestly thought it was firecrackers, someone just playing a joke. And then next thing I turned and looked backwards, and I see a guy with a rifle and a gun at the corner of the building just shooting down at everybody — and the bullets were hitting the tree right in front of us,” Cotreau said. “I just kind of stood there for a second. My wife screamed: ‘Get up! Get up! Run! Get up! Run!'”

The Cotreaus, their three sons and Jacqueline’s parents ran for their lives, hugging the wall of the businesses until they could take cover down a side street a couple of blocks away. It would be another 25 minutes before they could reach their cars. Throughout the entire time, they did not know where the gunman had run off to.

“All I could see is the shooter. That’s what I keep picturing. I saw his rifle. I saw him shooting down on us,” Shawn Cotreau added. “It was so close, so close.”

Cotreau said the entire ordeal was shocking and surreal and the focus now is on his children and helping them process what they just lived through.

“What I learned from this is don’t wait,” Cotreau said. “Don’t even hesitate a second. Get up and go. Even three seconds longer and those bullets could have been reaching us.”

Police said the gunman who attacked an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago fired more than 70 rounds with an AR-15-style gun that killed at least seven people, then evaded initial capture by dressing as a woman and blending into the fleeing crowd.

Contributed by local news sources

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