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Finding a gun was crucial to capturing suspect in Highland Park parade shooting, chief says

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The 21-year-old suspect in the Highland Park Fourth of July Parade Shooting showed no emotion during his virtual court hearing on Wednesday.

Researchers say: Robert Crimo III aimed and fired 83 rounds at onlookers from a rooftop, stopping to reload his rifle. Then he ran in women’s clothing and left his gun behind.

“He shot at the crowd indiscriminately and hit people randomly,” Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen told CBS News in an exclusive interview.

It was an attack he had allegedly been planning for weeks.

“There was quite a bit of preparation involved and he was quite motivated to carry out the attack,” said Jogmen.

“My immediate thought was that this person could potentially get away with it and not be held responsible for this,” Jogmen said. “And that concern stayed with me for the first few hours because we had such a bad description. Not a good track.”

Finding the gun is what “set this investigation on a completely different trajectory,” Jogmen said.

“In this case, we knew the make, model, serial number, and then we proceeded with the tracing process directly to the manufacturer,” ATF Special Agent Kristen de Tineo told CBS News. With all that information, the ATF was able to identify the suspect.

During the frenetic eight-hour manhunt, police said the suspect stopped to see an acquaintance and then drove two and a half hours to Madison, Wisconsin, where he considered launching another attack when he saw a large gathering. In the car with him was another pistol and about 60 ammunition. CBS News got a photo of the gun that was in the car.

dotcom-still.jpg
The gun found in the Highland Park parade that shot the suspect’s car when he was arrested after a manhunt.

CBS News


Jogmen said investigators have no motive yet.

“We really don’t have a better understanding today than when we first started talking to him about the why in particular,” he said.

According to police, the suspect confessed to the shooting that killed at least seven people and injured 38 others. He is being held without a bond and… more costs expected to be filed against him in the coming weeks.

Illinois state police say the alleged gunman passed four background checks in 2020 and 2021 while amassed an arsenal of five firearms. The first was bought after the suspect’s father signed an authorization form.

Despite two meetings with police in 2019, during which he or family members were threatened with violence, and a series of disturbing social media posts, his parents’ lawyer says they have seen no warning signs.

“To them, he was just their son,” attorney Steve Greenberg told CBS News. “He was a bit eccentric. He liked music. He liked art. But to them he was just their son and there weren’t really any red flags. It’s a terrible tragedy for everyone.”

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