Accused of July 4 mass murder contemplating second shooting, police say

The man accused of killing seven people during a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb confessed to police that he let a hail of bullets drop from a roof and then fled to a neighboring state, where he considered taking a shotgun there. event, authorities said on Wednesday.

The accused returned to Illinois, where he was later arrested after deciding he was unwilling to commit a shooting in the Madison area of ​​Wisconsin, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said. at a press conference after a hearing where the 21-year-old man was denied bail.

In court, Lake County assistant attorney Ben Dillon said the gunman “looked in his sights, aimed” and fired at people across the street, killing seven and injuring more than two dozen. He left the shells of 83 bullets and three ammunition magazines on the roof.

Lake County State Attorney Eric Rinehart said he planned to bring attempted murder and aggravated battery charges to every person injured.

“Many, many more charges will follow,” he said at a news conference, estimating those charges would be announced later this month.

If convicted of first degree murder, he would face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak presides over the first appearance of accused gunman Robert Crimo at the county courthouse in Waukegan, Illinois, on Wednesday. (Charles Rex Arbogast/The Associated Press)

The suspect, Robert Crimo III, was wearing a black long-sleeved shirt when he appeared in court on video. As the prosecutor described the shooting, he said little except to tell the judge he didn’t have a lawyer.

On Tuesday, Thomas A. Durkin, a prominent Chicago attorney, said he would represent Crimo and that he intended to plead not guilty to all charges. But Durkin told the court on Wednesday that he had a conflict of interest with the case. Crimo has been assigned a public defender.

Rinehart also left open the possibility of suing Crimo’s parents, telling reporters that he now “will not answer that question” as the investigation continues.

Steve Greenberg, the attorney for Crimo’s parents, told The Associated Press that they are not concerned about being charged with anything related to their son’s case.

The parade shooting caused another American community—this time the affluent Highland Park, home to about 30,000, near the shore of Lake Michigan—to waver. Hundreds of protesters, parents and children fled in panic.

Some of the injured are still in critical condition, Covelli said, noting that the death toll could still rise. Already, those killed in the shooting have left a two-year-old boy without parents, families mourning the loss of beloved grandparents and a synagogue mourning the death of a church member who had also worked on the staff for decades.

Firearms bought after suicide threat: police

Questions also arose about how the suspect could have circumvented Illinois’ relatively strict gun laws to legally purchase five weapons, including the high-powered rifle used in the shooting, despite authorities being called to his home twice in 2019. for threats of violence and suicide.

VIEW | Accused gunman confessed, police say:

Suspected parade gunman ‘admitted what he had done’: police

The alleged gunman in the deadly shooting at a Fourth of July parade was questioned by Highland Park police and police said he went into detail about the things he had done and said he had considered another attack.

Police went to the house in September 2019 after a call from a family member who said Crimo threatened to “kill everyone” there. Covelli said police seized 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but said there was no sign at the time that he had any weapons.

Police also responded to a reported suicide attempt by the suspect in April 2019, Covelli said.

Crimo legally purchased the rifle that police say was used in the Illinois attack in the past year, Covelli said. In total, police said, he bought five firearms, which were recovered by officers at his father’s home.

A memorial to the shootings will be on display in Highland Park on Wednesday. In addition to the seven dead, more than two dozen were injured. (Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

The Illinois state police, which issues licenses to gun owners, said Crimo applied for a license in December 2019, when he was 19. His father sponsored his application.

At the time, “there was insufficient basis to establish an apparent and present danger” and to reject the application, the state police said in a statement.

PHOTOS | Community comes together for wake:

Investigators who questioned the suspect and reviewed his social media posts have not identified a motive or found any indication that he had targeted victims based on race, religion or other protected status, Covelli said.

During the July 4 parade, the shots were initially mistaken for fireworks before hundreds of revelers fled in panic. A day later, prams, lawn chairs and other items left behind by panicked parade-goers remained within a wide police perimeter. Outside the police tape, some residents drove up to collect blankets and chairs they had left behind.

The shooting happened at a spot on the parade route where many residents had set out prime vantage points early in the day, including two of the deceased victims, 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo, who was visiting his family in Illinois from Mexico. . and 63-year-old teacher Jacki Sundheim.

Nine people, ranging from 14 to 70, remained in the hospital on Tuesday, hospital officials said.

The gunman initially evaded arrest by dressing as a woman and blending in with the fleeing crowd, Covelli said.

A police officer detained Crimo north of the shooting just hours after police released his photo, warning that he was likely armed and dangerous, Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said.

In 2013, Highland Park officials approved a ban on semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. A local doctor and the Illinois State Rifle Association were quick to contest the liberal suburb’s stance. The legal battle ended on the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, when judges refused to hear the case and let the suburban restrictions remain in place.

VIEW | Had a history of mental health issues, police say:

Police informed of past mental health incidents with parade shooting suspect

Highland Park Police Department describes two separate incidents in 2019, when they were made aware of the suicidal and potentially violent intent of the alleged gunman in the deadly mass shooting at an Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburbs.

Under Illinois law, gun purchases may be denied to people convicted of felonies, drug addicts, or those deemed capable of harming themselves or others. But under the law, who is subject to the latter provision must be determined by “a court, council, commission or other judicial authority.”

Illinois has a so-called red flag law designed to stop dangerous people before they kill, but it requires relatives, relatives, roommates or police to ask a judge to confiscate weapons.

Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, who posted dozens of videos and songs on social media, some of them ominous and violent.

Federal agents looked at Crimo’s online profiles, and a preliminary search of his Internet history revealed that he had investigated mass murders and downloaded multiple photos depicting acts of violence, a law enforcement officer said.

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