A towel with the motif of the American stars and stripes, abandoned on a lawn along the sidewalk, also testifies to the chaos of the day before, when a gunman opened fire from the roof of a business, killing dozens, including six died.

Natalie Belloff came near the scene of the drama.

“(I’m) just horrified, furious, angry, upset. Just appalled,” the 20-year-old student at the University of Illinois told AFP.

A native of Highland Park, she went to the same high school as the alleged shooter, Bobby Crimo, but says she didn’t know him.

On the shores of Lake Michigan, Highland Park, with its opulent homes, is a favorite hangout for Chicago stars. But the name will now evoke the sad list of cities bereaved by shootings in the United States.

At the time of the annual July 4th parade, the national holiday, the 21-year-old shooter randomly chose his victims, police said on Tuesday.

– “Second Amendment” –

On the lampposts in front of the red brick buildings, the American flags float alongside that of LGBT pride, and behind the yellow cordon which bars access, the agents of the federal police, the FBI, are busy.

For Natalie Belloff, the United States must adopt laws which more strongly limit access to weapons.

“You can still have a Second Amendment without being able to buy an assault rifle at 20-21,” she says, referring to the constitutional provision that guarantees the carrying of weapons.

Ivana Spasova, who says she is “in shock”, echoes this sentiment: “We should not give access to weapons to young people and especially military style weapons”, says the 25-year-old delivery woman near the police cordon .

“It’s a safe community, it’s a safe neighborhood,” she also says of the city.

Susan Millner, 45, came with her mother to the scene of the shooting.

The two women were to attend the parade Monday as every year with their families, but had an impediment this year.

For Susan Millner, in addition to weapons, there is a “major mental health crisis” in the United States.

“We don’t have the resources to fight it,” says this therapist, who points out that the situation has only worsened with the pandemic, particularly among young populations.

– Chicago Elite –

In the tree-lined streets close to the scene of the tragedy, the opulent houses of Highland Park and its lawns cut to the millimeter are revealed.

Located nearly 25 miles from the center of Chicago and its notorious crime problems, Highland Park is conversely known for being a quiet, trouble-free town. The municipality of 30,000 inhabitants had even decreed in 2013 the ban on assault rifles.

The city is also known for being home to some of Chicago’s elite.

Basketball superstar Michael Jordan had taken up residence there during his years with the Bulls franchise, in a home valued at nearly $15 million.

The famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright also designed several houses there.

And it is there that, in the 1980s, several residences served as the setting for films such as “Risky Business” with Tom Cruise, or “La Folle jour de Ferris Bueller”.

– “Middle class” –

The alleged shooter, Robert – known as “Bobby” – Crimo was arrested by the police a few hours after the tragedy. Authorities revealed on Tuesday that he had been planning the attack for “several weeks”, and that he had “disguised himself as a woman” so as not to be identified.

Originally from the region, he lived in Highwood, a neighboring town of Highland Park.

In his typical American suburban street, calm reigned on Tuesday.

Dave MacNerland, one of Bobby Crimo’s neighbors, described to AFP a neighborhood where “people are very nice”. The community is rather that of a “middle class”.

In front of the suspect’s house, an old gray car is parked on the lawn. A large sticker on the door reads “47”, a mysterious number that Bobby Crimo also got tattooed on his temple.