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Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan and partner Chloe Mendel host Highland Park benefit concert

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Billy Corgan, lead singer of the rock band Smashing Pumpkins, and his partner Chloe Mendel will host a benefit concert Wednesday evening for the victims of a mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Seven people died and dozens of others were injured in the incident, which occurred at a Fourth of July parade this year. 

“We were so shocked by what had happened and, of course, the damage to our community, not only the carnage that happened but the psychological effects — the mental health effects,” Corgan told “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday. “Twelve hundred people a day have been going to the local high school seeking mental health care so we felt that void and wanted to step in that void.”

Corgan, who has lived in Highland Park for 20 years, and Mendel, who has lived there for 10, own a cafe situated only one block away from where the fatal incident occurred. The establishment was closed down for a week by the FBI following the mass shooting, Corgan said, adding that he hopes Wednesday’s charity concert helps to “reclaim the space” since the cafe has reopened. 

“We just want to share love and unity,” he said. “We’re trying to just use music to kind of bring people together, to get everybody moving back in the same direction and I tell you, this community really needs it.”

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On July 4, police and witnesses said a gunman began shooting at a crowd of people that were celebrating the Fourth of July from the roof of a business near the parade route. Nearly nine hours later, 21-year-old Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, who had been identified as a person of interest, was arrested. 

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Crimo has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and officials said they anticipate “dozens of more charges” to come. 

Mendel said she has not told her two young children that she shares with Corgan about the violent day. 

“We still don’t know how to share with them what happened because so many people are hurt. So many children and families are affected by this,” Mendel told “CBS Mornings.” 

“That’s a conversation that’s really tough for us to have at this time,” Corgan added. “Our kids are definitely asking questions and the day will come. We’re just not there yet.”

He described Highland Park as a “very tight-knit community” that is “very sensitive to gun violence.”

“I think they’re turning to each other not only to heal but to sort of organize and get focused on the future,” Corgan said of the community in the shooting’s aftermath. “As far as young people go, you see them really at a loss for what to do. They’re animated. They want to do something, but they feel so   powerless and you really see it with the young people in this community. They’re really grappling with what this means for them.”

Mendel noted that the town, though, is “not defined by this tragedy.”

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“We’re defined by how the community has come together to recognize those who need help and be there for each other,” she said. “It’s incredible.”

The benefit concert will be streamed live on the Smashing Pumpkins’ official YouTube channel Wednesday night at 9 p.m. EST where viewers can donate to the community foundation. 

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