A TERRIFIED dad has revealed he hid his young son in a dumpster in a desperate bid to escape a shooter's rampage at a July 4 parade.
Gunshots rang out just 10 minutes after the parade started and beach chairs, baby strollers, and backpacks were found strewn across the grounds as revelers fled in terror.
Construction worker Alexander Sandoval, 39, said he put his son and his little brother in a dumpster to escape the carnage.
He told the New York Times that he was enjoying the parade when gunfire erupted.
He said: “When it started happening, I thought it was the Navy saluting the flag. Then I grabbed my kid and we ran and tried to break a store window to get away from it.”
He tried to punch down the door of a closed business as he tried to escape before putting two kids in a dumpster.
Another boy was found alone and covered in blood during the parade, however, he has since been reunited with his grandparents.
A local chef found the boy and kept him safe as it was unclear at first if he had attended the parade with his parents or grandparents.
Photos shared on social media showed the boy’s ankles and shoes covered in what appeared to be blood stains, however, it was unclear whether it was his blood or someone else’s.
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One paradegoer, who wished to remain anonymous, described the gunman as “monstrous-looking".
They told The Sun: “He’s a very short, frail man. Gaunt.”
Another person, known only as Dee, said: “I’m scared, to be honest. That has been my work city for eight years, I walk those streets and the fact that the gunman is still at large is scary.
“I’m supposed to work tonight at a grocery store and I can’t even find the right words right now.
“I may not be able to get to work since I take the train. All trains are halted and downtown is locked down."
Several witnesses told the Chicago-Sun Times that they heard about 20-25 shots fired.
“I heard 20 to 25 shots, which were in rapid succession. So it couldn’t have been just a handgun or a shotgun,” Miles Zaremski told the outlet.
The witness said he saw "people in that area that got shot,” including “a woman covered with blood."
Bystander Adrienne Drell told the Sun-Times: “It was a quiet, peaceful, lovely morning, people were enjoying the parade.
“Within seconds, to have that peacefulness suddenly ripped apart, it’s scary. You can’t go anywhere, you can’t find peace. I think we are falling apart.”
Police confirmed six deaths and 30 injuries in what they called an "active shooter situation".
Nicholas Toledo, a grandfather, was killed at the parade.
Multiple police agencies, including the Illinois State Police, Highland PD, and Lake County Sherriff officials, responded to the scene.
Illinois Rep Bob Morgan said he was at the parade at the time and confirmed "multiple injuries".
"For those unaware, there was a shooting at the Highland Park Parade. I am OK, but there have been multiple injuries. Please stay out of the area, stay safe, and please pray for those injured," Morgan tweeted.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering confirmed police were responding to an incident in the downtown area and that the Fourth Fest was canceled.
US Rep Brad Schneider said his office was gathering information on the shooting and was in touch with the mayor.
"Today a shooter struck in Highland Park during the Independence Day parade," Schneider tweeted.
"Hearing of loss of life and others injured. My condolences to the family and loved ones; my prayers for the injured and for my community; and my commitment to do everything I can to make our children, our towns, our nation safer. Enough is enough!"