A quick-thinking dad saved his son’s life Monday as gunfire rang out at the deadly Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill.
Alexander Sandoval, 39, his partner and their two children had staked out spots along the parade route early Monday morning. But when a gunman atop a nearby building began firing into the crowd, their peaceful holiday turned into a bloody nightmare.
At first, Sandoval told the Chicago Sun-Times, he thought the gunfire was a demonstration from the Navy marchers. Then, people began dropping.
He and his partner, Amairani Garcia, fled in different directions in the chaos: he took his 5-year-old son, Alex, and she took her 6-year-old daughter, Melani.
“I grabbed my son and tried to break into one of the local buildings, but I couldn’t,” Sandoval told the Sun-Times.
“The shooting stopped. I guess he was reloading. So I kept running and ran into an alley and put my son in a garbage dumpster so he could be safe.”
With his son safe, Sandoval was able to track down Garcia and Melani at a nearby McDonald’s where they had fled to safety.
“This doesn’t happen here,” he told the Sun-Times. “It shouldn’t happen anywhere.”
Six people were killed in Monday’s massacre and dozens were wounded, according to officials.
Hours after the shooting, 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III was taken into custody as a person of interest. No charges have been filed as of Tuesday morning.