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Highland Park shooting suspect confessed to authorities and planned second attack in Wisconsin, prosecutor says

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HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois — The man accused of killing seven people at a Fourth of July parade confessed to the shooting in detail — and revealed he had considered a second attack, authorities said Wednesday.

Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, 21, has been charged with seven first-degree murders, and is likely to face many more counts as a result of the dozens injured and injured in Monday’s massacre in this upscale Chicago suburb.

“He went into details about what he had done. He admitted what he had done,” Lake County attorney Eric Rinehart told reporters outside the courthouse. “We don’t want to speculate about motives now.”

Shana Gutman and her mother, Eadie Bear, lifelong residents of Highland Park, Illinois, watch the Central Avenue scene on Tuesday.Brian Cassella / TNS via Getty Images

Crimo made the confession in a voluntary statement after being reminded of his right to remain silent, officials said.

After fleeing Highland Park, Crimo ended up in Madison, Wisconsin, and encountered a Fourth of July event there, said Chris Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.

He thought about carrying out an attack in that city as well, the official said.

“We have no information to indicate that he initially intended to drive to Madison to make another attack,” Covelli said. “We do believe he drove around (after) the first attack and saw the celebration.”

Covelli did not say which specific event Crimo considered offensive. Monday saw a number of festivals and fireworks displays in and around the famous university town.

The defendant dropped his cell phone in Middleton, just outside of Madison, and it has been recovered, authorities said.

When asked what would have stopped him from attacking Madison, Covelli said, “There’s some evidence that he didn’t think or research that enough.”

Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday that he was “deeply disturbed” to learn that Crimo was considering a second attack in his community.

“We sympathize with the grieving families in Highland Park and all those forever affected by the events of Monday’s shooting,” Barnes said. “We recognize that the tragedy could very well have happened in our own community. That reality is disturbing to all of us here in Madison, including members of the Madison Police Department.”

Madison mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said the near miss from an attack on her city further demonstrates the need for far-reaching gun safety measures.

“Today’s news that the suspected gunman traveled to Madison and contemplated violence here is deeply disturbing and only underscores the fact that we need a national approach to address gun violence,” she said in a statement. “War weapons have no place in our communities.”

Records show that in 2020 Crimo bought four weapons, the AR-15-style weapon used in Monday’s attack, a Kel-Tec sub-2000, a Remington 700 rifle and a shotgun, according to Covelli. Then in 2021 Crimo bought a Glock 43x pistol, the official said.

Crimo had that Kel-Tec weapon with him on that trip to Madison on Monday, according to Covelli.

While investigators are still looking for a motive, police said Crimo was interested in the number 47, which is tattooed on his face.

While authorities don’t know why that is the case, its digital footprint offers some insight.

In the video game ‘Hitman’, the main character is called Agent 47, and clips have appeared of Crimo playing that game. And in some gang nomenclature, “47” has been used to describe the AK-47 assault rifle.

“He kind of had an affinity with the numbers 4 and 7 and inverse was 7 and 4,” Covelli said, possibly referring to July 4.

A judge ordered Crimo to be held without bail on Wednesday.

The judge was told that Crimo emptied two clips with 30 shots each and loaded a third before the shooting stopped, Rinehart said.

Officials on Tuesday identified six of the seven people killed as Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78.

The seventh victim, 69-year-old Eduardo Uvaldo, was identified Wednesday by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Crimo, who was apprehended hours after the eruption, climbed a fire escape to create a sniper’s nest before opening fire on unsuspecting parade-goers below, authorities said.

He allegedly planned the attack for weeks, even donning women’s clothing to blend in with the crowd during his escape, police said.

An image of the suspect, obtained by NBC Chicago from a senior law enforcement official, appeared to show him in a blue-and-white blouse with longer hair.

Investigators believe the disguise was especially helpful to cover up his facial tattoos during the confusing moments after the shooting, police said.

“The community is still in incredible grief and sorrow,” Mayor Nancy Rotering told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.

“The first day it was a shock, and now it is being processed. We are now preparing the funerals.”

A lawyer for Crimo was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

Crimo is due to appear in court again on July 28 and is likely to be arraigned in August, Rinehart said.

“Many more charges against this defendant because so many people were injured,” Rinehart said.

“Every time he fires a bullet at a person, he is committing an aggravated discharge from a weapon, whether he hits someone or not. Many, many more charges will follow.”

Safia Samee Ali reported from Highland Park, and David K. Li and Ben Collins from New York City.

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