A father who hid his young son in a bin to protect him as the Chicago gunman was opening fire found people shot on the ground when he returned to the scene.
Alexander Sandoval set up chairs along the parade route for his five-year-old son, his partner and her young daughter so they would have a great viewing spot.
But when the Independence Day celebrations turned to horror, he was forced into action as he tried to protect his family.
Six people were killed and more than 30 seriously injured in the shooting at a Fourth of July Parade in Highland Park, Chicago on Monday.
Suspect Robert E Crimo III, 22, was arrested by police after a brief pursuit and taken into custody.
The killings are the latest in a string of mass shootings in the US and have brought debate over the "uniquely American plague" of gun violence into the spotlight once again.
Speaking to local Chicago TV station WGN9, Mr Sandoval, 39, said he grabbed his son and put him in a large bin as the shooting unfolded.
"I asked some people to stay there with him because I had to go back to find the rest of my family.
"And when I went back there was people shot on the ground, there was a little boy that was being carried away - probably six to eight years old.
"And that was the worst part of all of this because being a father and you know hiding your children... I can't imagine what that family's going through right now," he told the TV station.
Retired doctor Richard Kaufman was standing across the street from where the gunman opened fire, saying it was "pandemonium".
"Babies were flying in the air. People were diving for cover," he said. "People were covered in blood tripping over each other."
As the first shots rang out there was confusion about what was happening, given the sounds of the ongoing parade.
Sara Hainsfurther, a 36-year-old Highland Park resident who was at the parade with her family, said she had attended it almost every year since she was a child.
"Not even five minutes after, very shortly after, the police and fire trucks part of the parade had gone by, I heard 'pop, pop, pop, pop, pop'," she said.
"My mom said 'wow, those are really loud' and I looked to see if they were muskets, because you know sometimes they'll use those old guns in the Fourth of July parade...
"The popping didn't stop though, again it went 'pop, pop, pop, pop, pop' and I turned and I said 'those are gun shots, run'."