Father of Highland Park suspect slapped with seven felony charges
The father of the suspect charged with gunning down seven people and wounding 48 in the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, was arrested and charged with seven felony counts for reckless conduct, prosecutors announced Friday.
Robert Crimo Jr. stands accused of being “criminally reckless” when he signed an application for his son’s Illinois Firearm Owners Identification three years prior to the rampage, paving the way for his son to obtain a firearm to carry out the deadly mass shooting.
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“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon. They are the first line of defense. In this case, that system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son. He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway. This was criminally reckless and a contributing cause to the bodily harm,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart declared at a press conference.
Crimo Jr. denied culpability. He sponsored his son’s gun license in 2019 several months after authorities received a tip that the younger Crimo declared “he was going to kill everyone” in his family, according to police. The younger Crimo would not have been able to obtain the weapon without his father’s signature under Illinois law because he was under the age of 21.
Judge Paul Novak found “probable cause” for the charges against Crimo Jr. and issued a warrant for his arrest. Crimo Jr. will face a bond hearing on Saturday. His lawyer ripped the charges lodged against him as “baseless and unprecedented.”
“This decision should alarm every single parent in the United States of America who according to the Lake County State’s Attorney knows exactly what is going on with their 19-year-old adult children and can be held criminally liable for actions taken nearly three years later. These charges are absurd and we will fight them every step of the way,” said George Gomez in a statement, per CNN.
His son, Robert Crimo III, was indicted by a grand jury in July on 48 counts of attempted murder, 48 counts of aggravated battery, and 21 first-degree murder counts. A precise motivation for the attack remains murky, but authorities say Crimo had dabbled in extremist content on the internet. He also previously attempted suicide, officials said.
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Crimo pleaded not guilty to 117 criminal charges levied against him in August. If convicted of murder for the deaths of at least two people, he will face life in prison without parole.
His father had been a mayoral candidate and operated convenience stores. Prosecutors previously foreshadowed back in July that they were combing through evidence of possible culpability in the attack.