Candidate Darren Bailey apologizes for Highland Park comments, tries to shift blame to Pritzker

After parade shooting Bailey told people to "move on" and celebrate Fourth of July

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ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Friday, July 8, 2022
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Republican candidate Darren Bailey apologized for insensitive comments he made shortly after the Highland Park parade shooting, but also tried to shift blame to Gov. JB Pritzker.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Republican candidate for Illinois governor Darren Bailey apologized for insensitive comments he made shortly after the Highland Park parade shooting, but also tried to shift blame to Gov. JB Pritzker.

Thursday Bailey called for a special session of the Illinois legislature to address gun violence, but apologized again for comments he made Monday in which he said people should "move on" and celebrate the July 4th holiday.

"The thought that my initial response could have caused more pain is certainly something that will keep me up at night and I'm sorry," Bailey said.

He also called for more funding for mental health services, despite the fact that he voted against Pritzker's budgets which included additional funding for such programs.

The Pritzker campaign called him out for that and added, "Bailey also voted against strengthening the Firearms Restraining Order Act to implement a program to educate the public and police officers about firearm restraining orders."

That act, often called red flag laws, are designed to keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people like Robert Crimo III.

"Governor Pritzker, this happened on your watch. You've got more gun control laws than almost anywhere else in America. Our problems are more complex than just more restrictive gun laws on law abiding citizens," Bailey fired back.

From his office in Highwood, State Rep. Bob Morgan was still dealing with the trauma of being in the parade Monday, two blocks from the shooting scene.

"So we heard what sounded like fireworks or firecrackers and then you saw a horde of people running away," said State Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Highwood).

Morgan hustled his wife, two kids and some staff members to safety and then began helping others.

"And we come across people that had blood on their clothing, then I came across a small child who's dress was covered in blood, helped her and her family out," Morgan said

There is already talk among lawmakers that any special session called this summer has to address gun violence. Morgan said it need to include discussion about an assault weapons ban, more mental health services and improving the state's red flag laws.

Morgan's message to his community is don't lose hope, and keep working for change to prevent the next tragedy.