The United States of America has a history of sniper attacks that have plagued the country and claimed hundreds of innocent lives. On Monday, an unidentified gunman opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing six people and wounding 24 others.
While the shooter’s identity remains unconfirmed for now, reports suggest that the shots were fired from a “sniper position”.
“Media reporting the gunman – a white teen or young man – had a rifle and was in a “sniper position” on a rooftop as he picked off people below at the Highland Park parade,” Shannon Watts, the founder of anti-gun violence organization Moms Demand Action, wrote on Twitter.
Lake County Sheriff Sgt. Christopher Covelli said that the shooting appeared “random” and was done through a “high-powered rifle.”
“What I’ll say right now is, it was high-powered rifle. I can’t go into details just yet. We’ll release that information as soon as we can,” he said during a press conference.
The Highland Park shooting rings a bell, a bell that takes the people of the United States back to 2002, the year of the D.C. sniper attacks.
The D.C. sniper attacks were a series of planned shootings that spanned three weeks in October 2002 and took place in three locations- Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
The first shooting occurred on October 2, 2002, when a bullet, that was directed towards a cashier, hit the window of the targeted man’s craft store in Aspen Hill, Maryland. Less than an hour after the incident, a man, who was in his 50s, was shot dead in a parking lot in Wheaton, Maryland.
The next day, five more people were shot dead in the Washington metropolitan area by what investigators called a high-powered .223-calibre rifle.
On October 7, a 13-year-old boy was shot and found dead outside his middle school in Bowie, Maryland.
Between October 9 and October 14, one woman and two men were killed in attacks in northern Virginia.
The snipers behind the attacks were John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who were 41 and 17 years old at the time, respectively.
In September 2003, Muhammad was sentenced to death. The next month, Malvo, who was a juvenile, received six consecutive life sentences without parole.
In November 2009, Muhammad was put to death by a deadly injection.
Another deadly sniper attack that took place in the US was the 2016 Dallas shooting of police officers.
On July 7, 2016, Micah Xavier Johnson, a US military veteran, ambushed a group of policemen in Dallas, Texas, and fatally shot five of them, while injuring nine others. Johnson’s attack was fueled by his anger over police shootings of Black people.
The shooting happened at the end of protests against the killings of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.
“This was a mobile shooter who had written manifestos on how to shoot and move, shoot and move, and that’s what he did,” former Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said, according to CNN.
The most recent sniper attack in the US took place on April 22, 2022. A man named Raymond Spencer allegedly opened fire in Washington DC’s Edmund Burke School and severely wounded three adults and a child. Later on, Spencer updated the Wikipedia page of the school to mention his attack.
“This was very much a sniper-type setup with a tripod, and this person, obviously, his intent was to kill and hurt members of our community,” said Chief of Police Robert Contee.
“It just appears that this person was just shooting at anyone who was out there randomly,” Contee added, according to NBC Washington.
23-year-old Raymond Spencer was later found dead in a building near the school. Investigators suspected that he opened fire at the school from the fifth floor of the same building.