The Highland Park mass shooting in Illinois on Tuesday, which left six dead, not only cast a pall over Fourth of July celebrations across the country, but was also the 309th such incident to take place in the US since the turn of the year.

As mass shootings become more and more common in the US, we take a look at some of the harrowing eyewitness accounts of the Highland Park incident.

Also read | List of fatal Chicago shootings over July 4 weekend

‘Looked like a battle zone’:

Zoe Pawelczak and her father were among the hundreds of people in attendance when the shooting took place. While her father mistook the 50 odd gunshots as part of a fireworks show, Zoe knew something was off.

“I’m like, ‘Dad, no … something is wrong,’ and I grabbed him and ran,” Zoe told CNN, adding, “And I looked back … and then it was just this sea of panic, and people just falling and falling.”

“It looked like a battle zone, and it’s disgusting. It’s really disgusting,” Zoe further said, explaining, “One man had been shot in the head — like, his ear. He was bleeding all over his face. There was another girl that got escorted out, [who] was shot in the leg.”

Zoe, who hid behind a dumpster with her father as bullets were flying, also told the media outlet that her father knew the suspect, Robert ‘Bobby’ E Crimo III.

“The kid’s dad is an amazing person and [I] can’t believe it was his son. I’m very happy to know he’s in custody. I can’t imagine seeing what I saw today and having the person still on the streets,” CNN quoted her as saying.

Also read | Highland Park shooting: Trump’s candidate wants to ‘move on and celebrate’

‘Just random luck I wasn’t shot’:

Like the Pawelczaks, Steve Tilken and his family had ventured out to take part in the Fourth of July celebrations, but their excitement soon turned to horror after Tilken’s 13-year-old granddaughter, who received active shooter training in school, suddenly dropped to the ground sobbing as shots, mistaken as fireworks by many, rang out.

“My wife just stood there — was standing for like a second or two — and then she realized what was going and so she dove down to protect their bodies with her body and I stood for another like couple of seconds in disbelief because I didn’t see the carnage that was happening aback of me. And I threw my body on top of theirs,” Tilken told CNN.

“We were just sitting ducks right there and one bullet could pass through all of our bodies … I realized … it’s just random luck that I wasn’t shot,” he added.

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‘It can happen anyplace’:

Another attendee, Miles Zaremski, who had lived in Highland Park for 37 years, expressed his shock at the carnage that unfolded on Monday.

“I saw blood on the sidewalk. I saw a bloodied body that looked deceased,” Zaremski told CNN.

“If it can happen on July 4 in a peaceful, law-abiding community like we have in Highland Park, it can happen anyplace,” he added, highlighting that mass shootings were becoming ubiquitous in the US.

Also read | Highland Park shooting: Suspect Bobby Crimo’s rap video shows gun violence

‘Surprised it took this long’:

Larry Bloom, another attendee and a long-time Highland Park resident told CNN that he had long expected an incident like this to go down in Illinois, given the state of gun control in the US and the politics surrounding the issue.

“Over the years, considering the temperature of this country and some of the demographics of our town here, every year I’m surprised — and thankful — that it hasn’t happened yet. And after I got to a safe space [away from the shooting] and I was able to get a few seconds of breath, I really just thought, ‘Yup, see, it finally happened here, this is ours.’ It’s disappointing, but I’m surprised it took this long, which sounds awful,” Bloom told the outlet.