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Shooting at Highland Park parade: suspect faces court as questions mount over how he got firearms legally

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Robert E. Crimo III, 21, is facing seven counts of first degree murder “for the massacre he has unleashed on our community,” Lake County, Illinois, state attorney Eric Rinehart said at a news conference Tuesday. A conviction would result in a life sentence without parole, he said.

“These are just the first of many charges that will be brought against Mr. Crimo. I want to emphasize that,” Rinehart said, and prosecutors will ask a judge to refuse bail.

Authorities say the suspect opened fire from a rooftop in Highland Park as the parade began on Monday, just after 10 a.m. CT. More than 70 high-velocity bullets were fired from a rifle “similar to an AR-15”, said Chris Covelli, the spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.
Crimo dressed in women’s clothing, investigators believe, to hide his identity. He left the roof and merged with the fleeing crowd to flee the area, Covelli said.
Five of the people shot during the parade were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said, and two people died in hospital from their injuries. According to Jim Anthony of NorthShore University Health System, a total of 39 patients were transported to medical facilities “by ambulance or otherwise,” and nine patients — ages 14 to 70 — remained hospitalized Tuesday. afternoon.
Crimo reportedly still had a rifle in his vehicle when he was detained by police hours after the shooting, Covelli said, and other firearms were recovered from his home in nearby Highwood.
Crimo is believed by authorities to have planned the attack for weeks, and the rifle used appears to have been legally purchased in Illinois, he said.

Still, information released by state and local law enforcement shows that the suspect previously required agent intervention due to threats of violence and mental health issues.

Full coverage of the Highland Park shooting

The suspect has previously had contact with the police

Crimo had two meetings with police in 2019 for fear for his safety and that of others, information that led Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering to question how Crimo later legally obtained firearms.

Highland Park police received a report in April 2019 that Crimo had previously attempted suicide, Covelli said Tuesday. Police spoke to Crimo and his parents and the case was being handled by mental health professionals, he said.

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In September of that year, a relative reported that Crimo threatened to “kill everyone” and had a collection of knives, Covelli said. Police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from their home.

The Highland Park Police Department has filed a “Clear and Present Danger” report about the visit to the Illinois State Police, the state agency said. Family members were unwilling to file additional complaints, state police said in a press release on Tuesday.

The knives seized by Highland Park police were returned the same day after Crimo’s father claimed they were his, state police said.

Over the next two years, Crimo legally purchased five firearms, according to Covelli — including rifles, a pistol and possibly a shotgun. State police confirmed on Tuesday that Crimo passed four background checks on firearms purchases between June 2020 and September 2021, including checks from the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

To buy firearms in Illinois, people need a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. Crimo was under 21, so he was sponsored by his father, state police said. Crimo’s application was not rejected because at the time there was “insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger”.

The only offense in Crimo’s criminal history was a violation of the January 2016 ordinance for possession of tobacco, police said, which occurred when he was a minor.

Mayor Rotering – who said she knew the suspect as a boy in a Cub Scouts pack she led – said she was “looking for an explanation” about how Crimo obtained firearms, and said Highland Park police were filed a statement. necessary reports.

“We know that people in other countries suffer from mental illness, suffer from anger, maybe they play violent video games, but they can’t get their hands on these weapons of war and they can’t bring this kind of carnage to their country. This has to stop.” the mayor told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, noting that the state has “red flag” laws, but people should speak their mind if they see warning signs.

Detectives are looking for a motive.

One detail that emerged about Crimo was that he attended a Passover service at the Central Avenue Synagogue in Highland Park in April, according to a city official. He “didn’t look familiar” and left alone, the official told CNN.

Officials currently have “no information to suggest it was racially motivated, motivated by religion or any other protected status,” Covelli said.

    A woman looks at the candles and flowers shot by the victims of the parade on July 5, 2022 in Highland Park.

6 of the victims identified by officials

On Tuesday, authorities identified six of the seven victims of the shooting:

64-year-old Katherine Goldstein of Highland Park

35-year-old Irina McCarthy of Highland Park

37-year-old Kevin McCarthy of Highland Park

63-year-old Jacquelyn Sundheim of Highland Park

88-year-old Stephen Straus of Highland Park

78-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza from Morelos, Mexico

A seventh victim died at a hospital outside of Lake County, coroner Jennifer Banek said.

The parents of a 2-year-old boy are among the victims of the July 4th parade shooting

One of those injured in the shooting is Eduardo Uvaldo, a 69-year-old man who has been taken off a ventilator and is fighting for his life at Evanston Hospital, his daughter told CNN on Tuesday.

“Doctors said there’s nothing they can do,” Karina Uvaldo-Mendez said, adding that her father was still breathing alone. “We need everyone to keep us in their prayers.”

Uvaldo was shot in the arm and then in the back of the head, according to a verified GoFundMe campaign. His wife and grandson were also injured, Uvaldo-Mendez said.

He tended to avoid parades because he didn’t like crowds, she said, but he did like the one in Highland Park and it was the only one he attended annually.

CNN’s Taylor Romine, Rebekah Riess, Joe Sutton, Adrienne Broaddus, Sara Smart, Sharif Paget, Laura Klairmont, Ashley Killough, Jason Kravarik, Alisha Ebrahimji, Amir Vera, Steve Almasy, Jason Hanna, Eric Levenson, Helen Regan, and Vanessa Price contributed to this report.

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