Week after Highland Park shooting, community comes together for vigil remembering those lost

Highland Park parade shooting killed 7, injured at least 39

ByMark Rivera, Rob Elgas, and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Thursday, July 14, 2022
Highland Park holds vigil for shooting victims, survivors
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Highland Park, Illinois residents came together to remember those lost and injured in a July 4 shooting.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Highland Park held another vigil Wednesday night after tragedy tore through the city.

These memorials have been powerful for this community, as they keep finding ways to rally together and get through this.

Hundreds of people gathered, protected by a massive police presence with first responders coming from as far away as Florida to honor those killed.

Religious leaders spoke on behalf of the faithful. People from all walks of life united for a common cause.

The Labrador family, who heard the gunshots that day and ran back home, understands how much the night means to the community.

"We came together to help each other, and it was really good to see that," said 11-year-old Adele Labrador.

"I think that the message tonight was one of hope and one of action, and I think we need to follow it," said Hallie Labrador. "It's been a hard week."

"It goes back to being a safe community where kids can ride their bikes and people can go out without the fear of being attacked," said 13-year-old Viola Labrador.

"There are so many people who are injured physically and mentally, so there's a lot of healing to do, but we are all here supporting each other," longtime Highland Park resident Sue Monhait said.

Special ABC7 Eyewitness News coverage of the vigil in Highland Park honoring parade shooting victims and survivors.

Monhait owns a couple of local businesses, and has been using one to help create more than 8,000 support ribbons.

It's a small gesture that goes a long way in uniting her community during this tragedy.

"It's just another way to bind people together to show that we care for each other, which is really what Highland Park has always been about and will continue to be about," Monhait said.

"It's just really important to be there for other people. We had a lot of people there for us. So it's important that we do that for others," said Morgan Spitz, who came from a neighboring community.

Highland Park residents continue to come together to remember those lost and injured in a July 4 shooting.

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"I was born here, my wife. Not easy. But the people are really coming together," former Highland Park policeman Hank Schotanus said.

They and Barb Buhai, daughter of former Highland Park Mayor Robert Buhai, all gathered at a growing memorial and art installation in downtown Highland Park.

"Enough is enough is enough is enough," Buhai said. "I just felt like I needed to pay my respects, and if anyone in congress or the political world will hear us and it will make a difference, 'cause it just has to stop."

Posts outside the Highland Park Metra stop also echo that sentiment, wrapped in orange yarn. Notes of love and support are tied to them with string. The public art piece by Jacqueline Von Edelburg is titled "Enough."

"If there's any way we can help amplify the voices that are here and our community, that's what we want to do," Von Edelberg said.

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Stella Flores said her husband didn't feel well on the day of the parade, and that may have saved his life.

"He usually works, every year, in that corner, specifically in that corner, so something, God help us I don't know; he didn't go," Flores said.

Whether these residents were at the parade or not, they're all now relying on each other to move on but never forget.

"Everybody has a story of the experience at that time, and you don't even have to talk about it, just being together, sharing the common situation together and having places and venues to do that has been amazing," Monhait said.

That will continue Wednesday night with another vigil held by the city at 7 p.m. outside City Hall, and, in the meantime, there is still one victim of that shooting fighting for his life.