The suspected gunman in the deadly shooting at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, had prior contact with law enforcement, police said Tuesday.
Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, 21, had two previous encounters with police in Highland Park, with the most recent being in September 2019 over a “mental health issue” in which Crimo threatened to kill members of his family, Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force said in a news briefing.
The first contact with law enforcement was in April 2019 after a person contacted police upon learning of a suicide attempt by Crimo. Police spoke with Crimo and his parents at the time. However, Covelli said that the situation was being handled by mental health experts, and no law enforcement action was taken.
The suspect had two incidents prior. One incident in September of 2019 involved a family member reporting that suspect said “he was going to kill everyone” pic.twitter.com/atxT1JwBQl
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 5, 2022
Then, in September of that year, a family member reported that Crimo “said he was going to kill everyone” and had a collection of knives, Covelli said. Police removed 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword from his home at the time, though no family members filed an official complaint, he said.
“At that time, there was no probable cause to arrest or warrant arrest. There were no complaints that were signed by any of the victims. The Highland Park Police Department, however, did immediately notify the Illinois State Police of the incident,” Covelli said.
Authorities said they do not have knowledge of any firearms that Crimo owned at the time of his last contact with police, though he subsequently purchased firearms in 2020 and 2021.
State police said Crimo did not have a Firearm Owners Identification Card, required for Illinois residents to possess a firearm or ammunition, as of September 2019, so there was nothing to “review” or “revoke” on their end.
“We didn’t know, you know, a few months later, something else would happen,” said Delilah Garcia, a spokesperson for Illinois State Police.
In a search on Monday, police found five guns in his father’s home, including two rifles, pistols, and “possibly a shotgun,” Covelli added.
Authorities also said they are looking for a woman whom they believe saw Crimo deposit an “object” into a red blanket following the shooting, based on surveillance footage in the area.
After fleeing the scene of the shooting, Crimo “drove around to a number of places,” including to the neighboring state of Wisconsin, before coming back to Illinois, Covelli said.
45 people were injured, including seven killed, after Crimo opened fire from a rooftop on to the crowded street during July Fourth festivities in the city north of Chicago, according to officials.
Authorities identified six of the seven deceased victims Tuesday. The identified victims include Katherine Baldstein, 64, Kevin McCarthy, 37, Irina McCarthy, 35, Jacki Sundheim, 63, Stephen Straus, 88, and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78. The seventh victim died in a hospital outside of the county, Jennifer Banek, the Lake County coroner, said during the press conference Tuesday.
The McCarthys leave behind a 2-year-old son, Aiden, who was discovered alone after the shooting spree transpired, according to officials. At least two of those victims, Toledo-Zaragoza and Sundheim, had previously been reported. All but one of the identified victims were residents of Highland Park. Toledo-Zaragoza was from Morelos, Mexico.
Formal charges filed against Crimo are expected to be announced at 5:30 p.m. local time.