Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey has apologized for his comments he made just hours after the deadly July 4 parade shooting in Highland Park in which he encouraged supporters “to pray for justice to prevail” and then “move on” to celebrate the nation’s independence, according to a published report.
Bailey made his initial comments on Facebook Live, in which he said he had been preparing to march in the Skokie parade when it was canceled due to safety concerns following the Highland Park parade shooting that killed six people and injured at least 30 more. Police were still searching for the alleged gunman at the time Bailey made the comments, just hours after the shooting.
“We are here in Cook County, i the beautiful community of Skokie, getting ready for the Independence Day parade. Unfortunately, about 20 minutes away from here, in Highland Park, there was a shooting. there were several people that we know have been shot. That’s all we know and we’re just going to take a moment and pray for the families. Friends, let’s pray for the law enforcement and even the organizers of this parade. There’s a lot of confusion and frustration that the parade is being canceled. But they did the right thing because people’s safety has got to come first. The shooter is still at large, so let’s pray for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate, celebrate the independence of this nation.”
According to Business Insider, Bailey subsequently released a statement apologizing for some of his comments made during the live stream.
“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 in a statement, according to Insider. “I apologize if in any way we diminished the pain being felt across our state today.
We must come together in prayer and action to address the plague of violence and commit to better addressing mental health in Illinois. We continue to lift up the victims of Highland Park and the victims we see daily in and around the city of Chicago and across our state. #twill pic.twitter.com/xD2YENnkpZ— Darren Bailey for Governor (@DarrenBaileyIL) July 5, 2022
Bailey, a state senator from Xenia, also sent out tweets on Monday and again on Tuesday calling for more state funding for mental health resources as well as a special session of the Illinois General Assembly to address street crime.
“We must come together in prayer and action to address the plague of violence and commit to better addressing mental health in Illinois. We continue to lift up the victims of Highland Park and the victims we see daily in and around the city of Chicago and across our state,” Bailey’s campaign said in a tweet Tuesday.