HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Vice President Kamala Harris made a brief, unscheduled visit to a northern Chicago suburb Tuesday night a day after a mass shooting ripped through the city.
Harris traveled to Highland Park just after authorities announced first-degree murder charges against Robert Crimo III, who was accused of killing seven people and injuring dozens of others during a parade in the 4th July.
After arriving, the Vice President spoke with Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and shook hands with law enforcement officials, thanking them for their work.
“There is no doubt that this experience is something that will linger in terms of trauma. And so I would like to urge all families and individuals to do, to seek out the support that you rightly deserve,” Harris said. said.
“We will take care of what we need…as we move forward, all agreeing that we need to be smarter as a country in terms of who has access to what. And in particular, weapons of assault,” she added. .
Rotering said Harris called her after the shooting and asked if there was anything she could do to help.
“I said, ‘If you could come to my community and thank the first responders who worked around the clock,'” Rotering said in a brief interview Tuesday night. “They are very traumatized to some degree by the carnage that they saw.”
Rep. Brad Schneider, a congressional Democrat who represents Highland Park, told NBC News that he and Harris spoke briefly during the visit about the need for an assault weapons ban.
“We have to do something about these mass shootings. We need to get assault weapons off the streets, we need to have background checks,” Schneider told Harris, who in turn was sending the same message to everyone out there. “She said the same thing – everyone is in a similar place.”
The visit came shortly after Harris gave a speech at the annual meeting of the National Education Association, where she spoke about the tragedy at Highland Park.
“We have more to do,” she said, calling on Congress to ban assault weapons. “An assault weapon is designed to quickly kill a large number of human beings. There is no reason for us to have weapons of war on the streets of America. We need reasonable gun safety laws.
President Joe Biden signed into law landmark bipartisan gun legislation last week but said more action was needed.
“I know there’s still a lot of work to do and I’ll never give up, but it’s a monumental day,” Biden said at the time.
Sally Bronston and Lindsey Pipia contributed.