Six dead, 36 injured in shooting at Chicago during US Independence Day parade

A gunman perched on a rooftop has opened fire on families waving flags and children riding bicycles during an Independence Day parade near the US city of Chicago, killing at least six people and wounding 36 others.

The shooting in Highland Park, a community of about 30,000 residents some 40km north of Chicago, Illinois, caused panicked mayhem on Monday as hundreds of marchers, including parents with strollers, fled the scene in terror.

Hours later, authorities said a man named as a “person of interest” in the shooting was taken into police custody.

He was identified as 22-year-old Robert E Crimo III.

Christopher Covelli, a spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, told reporters the attacker apparently used a “high-powered rifle” to fire from a spot atop a building where he was “very difficult to see”.

“Very random, very intentional and a very sad day,” he said.

The shooting comes as the United States struggles to stem a surge in gun violence and after a string of recent deadly incidents, including a massacre at a Texas primary school, has renewed calls for stricter gun regulations in the country.