Biden shares ‘shock’ at July 4 parade mass shooting: ‘More work to do’ to stop gun violence

President Joe Biden shared his “shock” and support on Monday afternoon after a deadly mass shooting during a July 4 parade in a Chicago suburb earlier in the day – the latest in a series of more longest mass shooting in America.

In his statement, Biden also noted the threat posed by the alleged shooter, who had yet to be arrested.

“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has once again caused heartache in an American community on this Independence Day. As always, we are grateful to first responders and law enforcement on the I have spoken to Governor Pritzker and Mayor Rotering, and offered the full support of the federal government to their communities,” Biden said, referring to First Lady Jill Biden and Illinois officials.

“I have also called on federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter, who remains at large at this time,” the president said.

“Members of the community should follow the advice of leaders on the ground, and I will be watching closely as we learn more about those whose lives have been lost and pray for those in hospital with serious injuries,” he added.

In separate comments during a surprise visit to a fire station in Santa Monica, Calif., Vice President Kamala Harris said she and Biden “have been in close coordination and we are briefed on what is happening. right now with regards to the active shooter situation. We are sending federal resources to local law enforcement on the ground to ensure that we can assist them in terms of capturing the shooter and any ensuing investigation. “

Harris noted that she was due to travel to Chicago on Tuesday morning to address the National Association of Educators.

“I was just sharing with some of our heroes, our local firefighters, this part of what I’m doing – unfortunately I used to do this before, it resonates every day – it’s a whole section about what our teachers are going through. They go in school to learn how to teach our children, to inspire their ambition, to create future generations of leaders, and our teachers are also in training to deal with an active shooter,” said Harris. “Our teachers need to learn to put a tourniquet on a child if he was shot.”

“And so when we look at the issue of gun violence and when we look at the dangers it poses to communities, it varies and it’s something that we should take very seriously,” she said. .

In a written statement, Harris said, in part, “On what should be a day of celebration with family and friends, we mourn the lives that have been taken in another senseless act of gun violence in Highland Park, Illinois. Doug and I pray for the dozens of people in hospital and for the loved ones of those who passed away today.

“We are grateful to the law enforcement and first responders who arrived at the scene today and undoubtedly saved lives,” she continued. “Today’s shooting is an unmistakable reminder that more needs to be done to address gun violence in our country.”

Their comments – echoed by a range of local leaders including Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and others – come after at least six people were killed and 24 others seriously injured in the of a shooting during a parade in Highland Park, Illinois. NorthShore University Health System said Monday it had a total of 31 patients, most of whom suffered gunshot wounds and some who were injured in the chaos.

Police say the suspected shooter is believed to be a young white male.

Authorities initially called the shooting a “random act of violence.” Another reason has not been confirmed.

Biden said in his statement Monday that “I recently signed the first major bipartisan gun reform legislation in nearly three decades, which includes actions that will save lives. But there’s still a lot of work to do, and I’m not going to give up on the fight against the epidemic of gun violence.”

As he mentioned, Congress just passed anti-gun violence legislation that included modest gun reforms and tougher youth background checks with funding for mental health, school safety and more. Again. The agreement was the most comprehensive legislation on the issue since the 1990s.

Among other measures, the new law focused on illegal gun dealers and removed the so-called “boyfriend loophole” to prevent more people convicted of domestic violence from getting a gun. .

The legislation also encourages states to pass “red flag” laws, which allow law enforcement to remove firearms from those deemed a danger to themselves or others, and it has strengthened background checks on gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21.

The bipartisan talks that led to the legislation were sparked by other mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

Biden and other Democrats had called on the narrowly divided Congress to take more drastic action, including reinstating the ban on assault weapons often used in such massacres. Republican lawmakers have long resisted gun laws, arguing they violate the Second Amendment.

The National Rifle Association also voiced its opposition to the “overbroad” new gun bill that “falls short on every level.”

“This legislation can be misused to restrict legal gun purchases, violate the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures enacted by state politicians and locals,” the band said last month. “This bill gives too much leeway to government officials.”

Biden had previously planned a low-key July 4 at the White House.

He returned to Washington from the presidential retreat at Camp David early Monday afternoon ahead of a planned July 4 barbecue on the South Lawn for military families. The Bidens were also scheduled to watch the fireworks on the National Mall from the White House at 9 p.m. ET.

Earlier in the day, the president sought to set an optimistic tone ahead of the festivities – clouded later by the Highland Park killings.

“The 4th of July is a holy day in our country – it’s a time to celebrate the goodness of our nation, the only nation on Earth founded on one idea: that all people are created equal,” Biden said. tweeted. “Make no mistake, our best days are still ahead of us.”

Biden was also expected to scale back his public remarks throughout the day after his much-anticipated statement last year that the country was “closer than ever to declaring our independence in the face of a deadly virus” just before that the delta variant of COVID-19 sweeps the United States.

ABC News’ Kolinovsky contributed to this report.

Maria D. Ervin