by Kathleen Foody and Michael Tarme
CHICAGO (AP) — The father of an Illinois man charged with killing seven people in a mass shooting at a July 4th parade, prosecutors announced Friday, has been charged with seven felony counts of reckless conduct.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Robert Crimo Jr. surrendered to police Friday and will have a bond hearing Saturday. Rinehart said the charges are based on Crimo sponsoring his then-19-year-old son’s application for a gun license in 2019.
“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teens should have a firearm,” Rinehart said. “In this case, the system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son. He knew what he knew and signed the form anyway.
Rinehart would not discuss further how his office filed the charges this week. Authorities had previously said that Robert Crimo III, the accused shooter, attempted suicide at knifepoint in April 2019 and was accused in September 2019 of threatening to “kill everyone” by a family member.
Both of those reports came months before Crimo Jr. sponsored his son’s application in December 2019.
Chicago-area attorney George M. Gomez said by phone Friday that he was representing Robert Crimo Jr. in the newly announced criminal case. He declined to answer questions but emailed a statement calling the allegations “baseless and unprecedented.”
“This decision should alarm every single parent in the United States who, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney, knows what is going on with their 19-year-old adult children and for actions taken almost three years later.” They can be held criminally liable,” Gomez’s statement said. “These allegations are absurd and we will fight them at every step.
Gomez said Crimo Jr. “continues to feel sympathy and terrible for the individuals and families who were injured and lost loved ones,” but the attorney called the allegations “politically motivated and unconscionable in what is happening in this country.” distracting from real change”. ,
In July a grand jury indicted Robert Crimo III on 21 first-degree murder counts, 48 counts of murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, representing the seven people killed and dozens injured in an attack on a beloved holiday event in Highland Park doing.
As of Friday, Rinehart had declined to discuss whether the man’s parents could face charges related to the murders.
Legal experts have said it is rare for a parent or guardian of an accused shooter to face charges — partly because such charges are difficult to prove.
In a notable exception, a Michigan prosecutor brought involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of a teen accused of fatally shooting four students at his high school last year. A January hearing date in that case has been delayed while a state appeals court considers the parents’ appeal.
Officials have previously said that Illinois State Police reviewed Crimo III’s December 2019 gun license application and found no reason to deny it because he had no arrests, no criminal record, no serious mental health issues There were no orders of protection and no other behavior that would be disqualifying. Him.
But after the Parade shooting, public records revealed that Crimo III attempted suicide with a knife in April 2019, recording a “history of attempts,” according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press.
In September 2019, police received a report from a family member that Crimo III had a collection of knives and had threatened to “kill everyone”.
Both Krimo III and his mother disputed the threat of violence at the time. Police have said that the father, Robert Crimo Jr., later told investigators that the knives were his, and that officers returned them.
Robert Crimo Jr. has shown up at several pretrial hearings for his son this year, nodding in greeting when his son enters the courtroom and is surrounded by guards. The father is a longtime resident of Highland Park and a familiar face around town, where he was once a mayoral candidate and was known for running a convenience store.
In media interviews after the shooting, Robert Crimo Jr. said he did not expect to face charges and did not believe he did anything wrong by helping his son obtain a gun license through the state’s established process. Is.