WASHINGTON –Vice President Kamala Harris made an unannounced visit late Tuesday to the site of a Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park, Ill., that left seven people dead and wounded nearly 40 others.
Harris’ motorcade arrived at the shooting site at 7:05 p.m. local time. Children’s bikes, a baby stroller, water coolers, toys and lawn chairs were scattered along the brick sidewalks.
Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who were invited to visit the scene by Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, spoke for several minutes to local officials.
“We have to take this stuff seriously,” Harris said. “The whole nation should understand and have a level of empathy to understand that this can happen anywhere, in any peace-loving community. And we should stand together.”
“Thank you for coming!” shouted residents who watched nearby.
Earlier Tuesday, Harris called the shooting “a senseless act of gun violence” during remarks at a meeting of the National Education Association in Chicago.
“We need to end this horror,” she said. “We need to stop this violence. And we must protect our communities from the terror of gun violence.”
Harris said the nation has made some progress toward curbing gun violence, citing bipartisan legislation that President Joe Biden signed into law late last month that enhances background checks on gun buyers 18 to 21 years old.
The law, passed after an elementary school shooting that killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, also encourages states to develop better “red flag” laws that would deny guns to people who are deemed to be dangerous and includes funding for mental health services and school security.
Still, “we have to do more,” Harris said.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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