Father of Highland Park parade shooting suspect pleads not guilty to reckless conduct charges

Prosecutors say Robert E. Crimo Jr. was criminally reckless when he signed his underage son’s gun ownership permit.

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Robert E. Crimo Jr., center, father of Robert Crimo III, talks with his attorneys as they wait for court to begin before Judge George D. Strickland at the Lake County, Ill., Courthouse Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Waukegan, Ill. Crimo Jr., faces seven counts of felony reckless conduct for signing the application for his son’s firearm owners ID card in December of 2019.

Robert E. Crimo Jr. (center), the father of Robert Crimo III, pleaded not guilty Thursday to seven charges of reckless conduct for helping his son obtain a firearm owner’s identification card.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

The father of the accused Highland Park parade shooter pleaded not guilty Thursday to reckless conduct charges for helping his son obtain a firearm owner’s ID card.

Judge George Strickland read each of the seven counts against Robert E. Crimo Jr., one for each of the seven people killed at the Fourth of July parade last year.

The indictment handed down by a Lake County grand jury Wednesday alleges Crimo Jr. was criminally reckless when he signed his son’s FOID application while knowing his son had expressed “violent ideations.”

Crimo Jr., 58, has been free since posting a $50,000 bond after he was charged in December.

In court, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said his office has shared 74 pages of discovery evidence with Crimo Jr.’s attorney and expects to share more electronically.

Due to the large amount of evidence to be collected, the judge set the next status hearing for April 4.

After the hearing, Crimo’s attorney, George Gomez, told reporters, “We’re a little surprised by the indictment. ... I do believe at the end of the day that Mr. Crimo will be vindicated of the charges.”

In January, Gomez cast doubt on the strength of the charges after prosecutors had a delay in presenting the case to a grand jury.

Gomez said there’s no question Crimo Jr. signed his son’s FOID card. The charges focus instead on alleging he was criminally responsible by doing that.

Parents are rarely charged in mass shootings committed by their children. After the grand jury approved the charges Wednesday, Rinehart said in a statement: “Parents who help their kids get weapons of war are morally and legally responsible when those kids hurt others with those weapons.”

The charges carry a sentence of one to three years in prison, followed by six-month parole and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Authorities say that after Crimo Jr. provided a signature in December 2019, his son was able to obtain the FOID card the next year despite previously threatening to kill himself and his family.

Crimo Jr.’s son, Robert E. Crimo III, allegedly fired a legally purchased rifle into the crowd at the Highland Park parade, killing seven people and wounding nearly 50 others.

The younger Crimo, 22, remains in custody at Lake County Jail pending his ongoing murder case.

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