A father who hid his young son in a bin to protect him while the Chicago gunman was opening fire found people shot on the ground when he returned to the scene.
Alexander Sandoval set up chairs along the parade route for his five-year-old son, partner and young daughter so that they had a great vantage point.
But when the Independence Day celebrations have turned to horrorhe was forced to act while trying to protect his family.
Six people were killed and more than 30 seriously injured in the shooting during a 4th of July parade in Highland Park. Chicago on Monday.
Suspect Robert E Crimo III, 22, he was arrested by the police after a brief chase and taken into custody.
The killings are the latest in a series of mass shootings in the United States and have brought the debate over the “uniquely American plague” of gun violence back into the spotlight.
Read More: The latest mass shooting indicative of the “ongoing battle for the soul of America”
Speaking on local Chicago television station WGN9, Mr. Sandoval, 39, said he grabbed his son and put him in a large bin as the shooting unfolded.
“I asked some people to stay there with him because I had to go back to find the rest of my family.
“And when I got back there were people killed on the ground, there was a child being taken away, probably six to eight years old.
“And that was the worst part of it all because being a father and you know how to hide your kids … I can’t imagine what that family is going through right now,” he told the TV station.
Retired doctor Richard Kaufman was standing across the street from where the gunman opened fire, saying it was “pandemonium”.
“The children were flying through the air. People were diving for cover,” he said. “People were covered in blood tripping over each other.”
When the first shots rang out, there was confusion about what was happening, given the sounds of the current parade.
Sara Hainsfurther, a 36-year-old Highland Park resident who was at the parade with her family, said she has attended almost every year since she was a child.
“Not even five minutes later, very shortly after, the police and fire trucks part of the parade had passed, I heard ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,'” he said.
“My mom said ‘wow, those are really loud’ and I looked to see if they were muskets, because you know they’ll use those old guns sometimes in the 4th of July parade …
“The outbreak didn’t stop though, once again it went ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop’ and I turned around and said ‘those are gunshots, run’.”