HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Vice President Kamala Harris stressed the value of communities coming together in times of tragedy following an Independence Day parade shooting in Highland Park that claimed the lives of seven people and left dozens more wounded.
Near the scene where Monday’s tragic events unfolded, Harris offered condolences on behalf of President Joe Biden and the rest of the country in what she called another ‘senseless shooting.’
“This should have never happened,” the Vice President told reporters in an unscheduled press conference on Tuesday. “We talk about it being senseless, it is senseless. It is absolutely senseless.”
The death toll rose to seven victims on Tuesday. The alleged shooter faces seven counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office expressed more charges are forthcoming.
Hospital officials said nine people, ranging from 14 to 70, remain hospitalized.
“This person will be brought to justice,” Harris said. “But it’s not going to undo what happened.”
Harris praised the Highland Park community for its unity, ensuring that the White House will continue to deploy the services necessary to help the community cope.
As with past mass shootings, calls for stricter gun laws grew louder in the aftermath.
Since the start of the year, the U.S. has seen 15 shootings where four or more people were killed, including the one in Highland Park, according to The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University mass killing database.
“We have to be smarter as a country in terms of who has access to what, in particular, assault weapons,” Harris said. “We have to take this stuff seriously…the whole nation should understand and have a level of empathy to understand that this can happen anywhere, in any peace-loving community, and we should stand together and speak out about why it’s got to stop.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.