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Spectators at Boston's Fourth of July celebration react to Illinois mass shooting

Thousands of spectators reveled and cooed at the Fourth of July concert and fireworks in Boston for the first time since 2019, when the pandemic put the annual display on a two-year pause.

After a deadly mass shooting at a suburban Chicago parade took place Monday, attendees crowded along the Esplanade shared somber reactions. At least six people were killed and dozens more injured in the attack.

Joan White, of Stoughton, Mass., shared at the Boston event that large gatherings often draw some fears about potential violence, but she said it shouldn't keep people away.

"We cannot let that fear control us," she said. "We have to go out there and live our life as we see fit."

White said she hopes political leaders tighten gun restrictions.

David Bem traveled to Boston from Pittsburgh to take in the concert and fireworks show with his family.

"I think it's a very sad day when we are all afraid on the Fourth of July that somebody might do a mass shooting," Bem said. "It's something we shouldn't have to be worried about when we're out at something like this."

"I just feel like it's everywhere," added Bem's daughter, Juliana. "There's mass shootings everywhere. And it personally makes me very nervous."

Suffolk Law student Ashly Yamat called the Illinois attack upsetting and devastating.

"I feel so bad for the families who are just trying to enjoy their Fourth of July, just like everyone here," Yamat said.

Chicago law enforcement officials say a person of interest in Monday's shooting has been detained.

Related:

Lynn Jolicoeur Twitter Producer/Reporter
Lynn Jolicoeur is the field producer for WBUR's All Things Considered. She also reports for the station's various local news broadcasts.

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Jack Mitchell Twitter Associate Producer
Jack Mitchell was an associate producer in WBUR's newsroom. He works across a wide spectrum of departments and shows — from the newscast unit, to WBUR.org, to Radio Boston.

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