Highland Park shooting: Paradegoers who left items behind as they fled can pick them up at Highland Park High School
Items will be at the FBI’s Family Assistance Center, which also offers counseling to anyone affected by the attack. Some items are still being evaluated as part of the investigation, so not all items are yet available for pickup.
Those who fled the scene of Monday’s mass shooting in Highland Park left behind many personal items — strollers, chairs, blankets and more.
Starting at noon Wednesday, people began picking up some of those items at Highland Park High School.
Not all those items can be picked up just yet, because “personal effects left along the parade route are slowly being evaluated for investigative purposes,” according to the FBI.
Items that can be picked up are at the FBI’s Family Assistance Center, which also opened Wednesday afternoon at the high school, 433 Vine Ave.
The pickup area, on the north side of the school, was closed off from the media. School district officials also encouraged people to use the athletics entrance.
The FBI’s evaluation of the items is “going to take a bit of time,” Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said Wednesday morning after the suspected shooter, Robert Crimo III, appeared in court via a video link.
Crimo has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, and prosecutors say he has confessed to the crime.
The items were picked up from the parade route along Central Avenue, from 2nd Street to Green Bay Road.
Besides holding the personal effects, the Family Assistance Center offers counseling services to anyone affected by the shooting, both the injured and those who suffered emotional trauma in the wake of the attack.
About 40 counselors and psychologists volunteered Tuesday, working with the more than 300 people who arrived at Highland Park High School seeking help, said Karen Warner, director of communications and alumni relations for Township High School District 113.
By Wednesday afternoon, a steady trickle of people — usually two or three at a time, including many parents with children — arrived at the high school for counseling services. Among them were more volunteers to help on the therapy side of the center.
The counseling includes the use of therapy dogs, both volunteer dogs, as well as those those brought in by the district. Warner said they had to turn away therapy dogs because so many were brought to the site Tuesday.
Doug Roth brought his 6-year-old therapy dog, Louie, a gray poodle, to the high school.
“It’s about whatever small thing one can do to ease people’s pain,” Roth said.
Roth said it was the first time Louie had been deployed for a crisis, but that he was “doing a really good job.”
Besides counseling and mental health services, the center also will help with spiritual care and financial assistance, if needed.
The high school is also taking in donations, with chalk, coloring books and construction paper among the items brought early Wednesday afternoon. Items intended for younger children were being distributed among North Shore School District 112 schools, Warner said.
Alicia Wall, a Wilmette resident, brought stuffed animals because she said it was an “immediate” way to help those affected by the shooting.
“I just wanted to do something to help,” Wall said. “Just the way these therapy dogs help people feel better, a stuffed animal could also help people feel better.”
The assistance center will be open Thursday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday hours are not yet set.
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