Highland Park Fourth of July parade massacre suspect charged with 7 counts of murder

Authorities announce seventh person died and say Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III will face “dozens” of counts in the July 4 shootings.

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Dozens of mourners gather for a vigil near Central Avenue and St Johns Avenue in downtown Highland Park, one day after a gunman killed at least seven people and wounded dozens more during a Fourth of July parade, Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A seventh person died Tuesday of injuries sustained during a mass shooting at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade, as prosecutors announced the shooting suspect will face seven counts of first-degree murder with “dozens” more criminal charges soon to follow.

At a news conference Tuesday near the shooting scene, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced charges against 21-year-old Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, who on Monday is accused of using an AR-15-style rifle to fire from a rooftop down on parade-goers in a “premeditated, calculated” attack.

Rinehart, a Highland Park resident, said dozens more charges would follow in days to come and that his office would seek “the maximum sentence” for Crimo.

The seven counts announced Tuesday would carry a mandatory sentence of life without parole if Crimo is found guilty, Rinehart said.

“These are just the first of many charges that will be filed against Mr. Crimo. Dozens more charges centered around each of the victims,” which Rinehart said would include multiple counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery and other charges.

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Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announces charges against Robert E. Crimo III during a news conference in downtown Highland Park, one day after a gunman killed at least seven people and wounded dozens more by firing an AR-15-style rifle from a rooftop onto a crowd attending Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade, Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A total of 45 people were injured or killed Monday, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Chris Covelli said at a news conference earlier Tuesday. Crimo, who was arrested after a brief car chase that ended in Lake Forest on Monday night some eight hours after the shooting, is expected to appear at a bond hearing Wednesday morning. Rinehart said prosecutors would call for Crimo to be held without bond.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch, who spoke briefly at the news conference, said the state-level charges were “appropriate” and declined to say whether federal charges were likely.

Crimo’s attorney, Thomas Durkin, said Tuesday that he had only talked to his client for “about 10” minutes to date and declined to comment on the charges.

The charges were announced a few hours after Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek released the names of the six victims who died at the scene or at Lake County hospitals: Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Jacki Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88, all of Highland Park, and Nicolas Toledo, 78, of Morelos, Mexico.

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Local, State and Federal police work the scene where seven people were shot and killed and at least two dozen others were injured in a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Monday, July 4, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

A seventh victim died Tuesday at a hospital outside Lake County, Banek said. One of the shooting victims Monday was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, but University of Chicago Medical Center did not immediately return calls from the Chicago Sun-Times.

A spokesperson for the Cook County medical examiner said Tuesday the office was not aware of any deaths in Cook County related to Monday’s shooting.

Crimo allegedly fired more than 70 rounds from a rooftop into the parade before descending on an unsecured fire escape and blending into the chaotic crowd, escaping the scene wearing women’s clothing to disguise his distinctive tattoos, police said.

Crimo allegedly left the gun at the scene, and Covelli said investigators were seeking a female witness who may have seen Crimo dropping a red blanket in an alley, and urged the woman to contact authorities. Covelli later said that the blanket held the high-powered rifle used in the shooting. Crimo walked from the scene to his mother’s home nearby, Covelli said.

As Highland Park and surrounding suburbs went into lockdown and hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the region launched a massive manhunt, Crimo took his mother’s car and “went on a drive,” Covelli said, going as far as the Madison, Wisconsin, area before he was spotted driving in North Chicago, Covelli said. He was taken into custody about 10 miles from the shooting scene.

There’s no indication Crimo told his mother anything about the attack, Covelli said. Highland Park Police were called to Crimo’s home twice in 2019, Covelli said. In April 2019, police went to the house in response to a “delayed notification” of a suicide attempt a week earlier by Crimo.

In September 2019, a family member called police after Crimo “threatened to kill everybody,” and police were warned that Crimo had a large collection of knives. Police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from the home, Covelli said, other family members had been the targets of Crimo’s threats but did not want to press charges.

Highland Park Police sent a “Clear and Present Danger” notice to the State Police reporting the incident. Some three months later, Crimo’s father sponsored his son’s application for a Firearm Owner Identification card to the then-19-year-old, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the State Police.

“There were no arrests made in the September 2019 incident and no one, including family, was willing to move forward on a complaint nor did they subsequently provide information on threats or mental health that would have allowed law enforcement to take additional action. Additionally, no Firearms Restraining Order was filed, nor any order of protection,” the ISP statement said.

At the time the FOID card was issued in January 2020, allowing Crimo to legally purchase weapons, “there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application,” according to the State Police.

Covelli said that Crimo had purchased as many as five weapons, including the AR-15-style rifle that was allegedly used in the attack, legally from dealers in the Chicago area in 2020 or 2021. A second, high-powered rifle was in Crimo’s car at the time of his arrest.

Crimo is talking to investigators, Covelli said.

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Police say this is Robert “Bobby” Crimo III wearing women’s clothing.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force

Investigators “have been in discussions with him. ... I’m not going to go into what he may or may not have said,” Covelli said.

“There are no indications there was anyone else involved in this attack,” Covelli said. “By all indications, it appears Crimo was acting by himself.”

Covelli, when asked if Crimo was targeting Highland Park’s Jewish population, said the attack appears to be random and investigators have found no indication he was targeting a specific group.

“At this point, we have not developed a motive for him,” Covelli said.

ATF agents ran an expedited trace on the weapon, which led them to Crimo, Covelli said.

“We do believe Crimo preplanned this attack for several weeks,” he said.

Other pistols that were legally purchased by Crimo were also recovered by police at the Highwood home where he lived, Covelli said. Police were not aware before the shooting of disturbing videos that appear to have been posted by Crimo online, including several that contain images of a gunman holding a AR-style weapon, and being gunned down by police, Covelli said.

Contributing: Jon Seidel

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