Loved ones lost forever in Highland Park massacre, but the pain will never go away

Sneed: Questions linger about what would drive a young man to shoot up a parade on the most festive of holidays

SHARE Loved ones lost forever in Highland Park massacre, but the pain will never go away

Mourners embrace on Friday afternoon outside North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Ill. after the funeral for Jacki Sundheim, one of the victims of the Fourth of July Highland Park parade shooting.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

And now it begins.

The funerals, the grief, and the questions.

The interminable, unending examination of what caused a 21-year-old Highwood resident to scale a ladder to the top of a building in Highland Park, aim an instrument of war at a crowd of families attending a Fourth of July parade, and change their lives forever.

It was a day feet never moved faster, hearts thumped more erratically, and fear was never more heightened.

Wasn’t the alleged shooter, Robert Crimo III, the same young man many of the city’s residents knew; the teenager who had worked in his family’s very popular Highland Park convenience store in this peaceful North Shore town; the person whose family had numerous domestic disturbance calls to their home?

The horror of that day, which led to a lockdown on the North Shore, continues as news drips out of Crimo’s history: the teenager who tried to commit suicide with a machete; once had 16 knives, a dagger and a sword removed from his home because he “wanted to kill everyone,” and a father, Robert Crimo Jr., who claims he knew very little to suspect his son would kill people with a weapon he gave his son consent to purchase.

And so our country’s national gun slaughter continues.

And it is no personal stranger to the North Shore.

On May 20, 1988, soon after my own family moved to the North Shore suburbs, a mentally ill woman named Laurie Dann walked into an elementary school in Winnetka; shot several students, killed eight-year-old Nicholas Corwin, and took a family hostage before committing suicide.

Earlier that day, Dann had tried to poison several people she knew and set fires in a school and a day care.

As a working mother and new Sun-Times columnist who had to call our housekeeper to lock the doors after retrieving my son and his best friend from the park next door, it was a signal of things to come.

Two years later, a disturbed 16-year-old New Trier High School student named David Biro decided he wanted to know what it was like to kill someone.

As a result, Nancy and Richard Langert were shot and killed along with their unborn baby by Biro, when they returned home; a house located a few blocks from Biro’s own family’s home.

It was also located near my family’s home, prompting a reflection on a decision to move to the safety of the suburbs.

And the big questions remain unanswered.

How long will it take America to keep high-powered rifles out of the hands of the mentally ill?

And how far will parents be permitted to protect their disturbed offspring, who could be this/close to slaughtering others.

The nation, awash in questions of accountability, is still awaiting answers.

A Rahm report…

The assassination of Japan’s powerful former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week was a stunner. Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is U.S. Ambassador to Japan, headlined a Japan-America Society forum together with Abe several weeks ago. “I joked with him (Abe) about meeting his mother, the wife of a foreign minister who had raised a prime minister, whom he takes on regular walks — as being the real force in the Abe family,” he told Sneed. “I told him (Abe) as the son of a Jewish mother, I know a force of nature when I see it,” he added.


Amy Rule, Rahm Emanuel and Shinzo Abe.

Provided photo

Early in his ambassadorial role, Rahm, a force of nature himself, had gifted Abe, who loved golf and had played golf with President Donald Trump five times, White House golf tees and a White House golf towel from the Biden White House.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, also gave Trump a gold-plated golf club a few days after he was elected President.

Few people in Japan own guns, which has a low rate of gun violence and some of the world’s most restrictive gun-control laws.

The word game…

∞An obit bit: Did you know actor James Cann, who died this week at the age of 82, dispatched the “mob” phrase “Bada bing” into the American lexicon while improvising dialogue playing the role of Sonny Corleone in the hit film “The Godfather”? Now you do.

∞An exit bit: Did you know Boris Johnson, the only British prime minister to be convicted of a crime, offered his resignation last week as the result of an era called “Scandalgate” with this note of “improper” English: “I’m giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks.” Bada bing.


The color chart: The mayor’s spiffin’ up? Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whose neutral wardrobe has consisted of a lot of basic boring brown suits, has been sporting more jewelry and a smattering of blue since launching her fight for re-election. … Saturday birthdays: actor Fred Savage, 46; singer Courtney Love, 58, and actor Tom Hanks, 66. Sunday birthdays: football player Antonio Brown, 36; actress Sofia Vergara, 50, and singer Jessica Simpson, 42.

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