Darren Bailey, an Illinois state senator and the Republican nominee for governor, apologized Monday after saying that people should “move on” from the deadly Highland Park shooting earlier in the day.
Bailey spoke after a July Fourth parade in the town of Skokie was canceled in the wake of the shooting, which left at least six dead and injured at least 24 others.
“Let’s pray for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation,” he said.
Bailey said in a statement released after his comments that he apologizes if he “diminished the pain” being felt across Illinois.
“I am heartbroken by today’s tragic events and the pain and loss felt by so many,” he said. “My intent was to pray for the victims and those affected by today’s tragedy and for the shooter to be caught and prosecuted without further loss.”
Bailey said he hopes people can come together in prayer and to take action to address “rampant” crime and mental health issues to ensure tragedies like the shooting do not happen again.
He posted a tweet on Monday afternoon saying he sends his “heartfelt prayers” to the victims of the shooting.
“July 4th is supposed to be a holiday for families, for parades, for celebrating the American Dream, but when people dont feel safe in their own community, they are deprived of that dream,” he said.
During his earlier comments, Bailey led a prayer for the families of those affected and law enforcement. He said canceling the parade was the right choice because safety needs to come first.
Police have arrested a person of interest in connection with the shooting.