Just hours after a mass shooting that killed six people and wounded at least 30 more in the US state of Illinois, one of the men running for governor there said it was time to "move on".
The suspect in the Independence Day parade massacre in Chicago was still at large when Republican nominee Darren Bailey made his comments.
"The shooter is still at large so let's pray for justice to prevail and then let's move on and let's celebrate the independence of this nation," Bailey said in a prayer at an event in Skokie, about 20 minutes away.
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"Bless us and protect us as we go about our day celebrating the most amazing country."
He issued an apology for his comments soon after.
"I am heartbroken by today's tragic events and the pain and loss felt by so many," he said in a statement.
"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."
In the wake of the shooting, Bailey's opponent JB Pritzker said "prayers alone will not put a stop to the terror of rampant gun violence" in the US.
"If you are angry today, I'm here to tell you to be angry," he said.
"While we celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become our weekly tradition."
The named suspect in the Chicago shooting has since been taken into custody.
Republicans believed the surging murder rate in Chicago would put the gubernatorial race within grasp in November's election.
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But the nomination of Bailey has created a serious headache for the party in the Democratic-leaning state.
Bailey, who hails from a downstate region close to Kentucky, has focused his campaign on looser gun regulations, criminalising abortion and opposing COVID-19 safety measures.
The right-wing politician was endorsed by Donald Trump, who lost the state by more than a million votes in 2020.
Bailey won the Republican primary in a landslide last week.
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