Five people have been shot dead at a 4 July Independence Day parade near the US city of Chicago, city officials say.

The event in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, was suddenly halted about 10 minutes after it began, when several shots were heard.

City authorities described the incident as “active” and said 16 people had also been hospitalised.

One reporter saw five people with blood on them, according to the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.

Local resident Miles Zaremski told the Chicago Sun-Times: “I heard 20 to 25 shots, which were in rapid succession. So it couldn’t have been just a handgun or a shotgun.”

Speaking to local television station WGN, a witness called Michael said “Immediately to the left of us he started shooting again and a woman went down.”

“This is an active incident,” city officials said in an update posted to Highland Park’s website, advising those in the area to “shelter in place.”

Congressman Brad Schneider, who represents the district, tweeted that he was “hearing of loss of life”.

The mayor of Highland Park said the festival had been cancelled and asked people to avoid the downtown area.

Pictures posted on social media suggest a large emergency services response has been sent to the area.

Source: BBC

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