The American man accused of killing seven people during an Independence Day parade in Chicago confessed to police that he fled to the Madison, Wisconsin area, where he was considering shooting an event there, officials say. authorities.
Most important points:
- The prosecutor said the suspect confessed to the Chicago attack after being detained
- Police say he was considering another attack after seeing another Independence Day celebration in Madison, Wisconsin
- Police say the 21-year-old suspect had legally purchased the rifle used in the attack in the past year
The suspect returned to Illinois, where he was later arrested after deciding he was unwilling to commit a shooting in Wisconsin, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference after a hearing where the 21-year-old old man was refused tape.
The parade shooting left another American community—this time the affluent Highland Park, home to about 30,000 people near the shore of Lake Michigan—totter.
More than two dozen people were injured, some seriously, and hundreds of protesters, parents and children fled in panic.
Deputy Chief Covelli said it didn’t appear the suspect had planned another attack in Wisconsin, but fled there, saw another Independence Day celebration and “seriously considered” firing at it.
The attacker had dumped the rifle he was using in Illinois, but he was still carrying a rifle and about 60 bullets, Deputy Chief Constable Covelli said.
Police later found his phone in Middleton, Wisconsin, about 150 miles from Highland Park.
Hours before his arrest, police warned that the gunman was still at large and that he should be considered armed and dangerous. Several nearby towns have canceled events, including parades and fireworks.
Lake County’s assistant attorney Ben Dillon said in court that the gunman “looked in his sights, aimed” and fired at people across the street.
He left the shells of 83 bullets and three ammunition magazines on the roof.
Some of the injured were still in critical condition in hospital, deputy chief Covelli said, and the death toll could rise.
Lake County State Attorney Eric Rinehart said he planned to charge every injured person with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.
“Many, many more charges will follow,” he said at a news conference, estimating those charges would be announced later this month.
The suspect, Robert Crimo III, was wearing a black long-sleeved shirt when he appeared in court on video. He showed little emotion when the prosecutor described the shooting, saying little more than to tell the judge he didn’t have a lawyer.
Ben Dillon, a prosecutor, told the court that the suspect confessed to the July 4 attack after being detained.
Suspected gunman known to police
Questions arose about how Crimo could have circumvented Illinois’ relatively strict gun laws to legally purchase five weapons, including the rifle used in the shooting, despite authorities being called to his home twice in 2019 over threats of assault. violence and suicide.
Police went to the house after a call from a relative who said Crimo threatened to “kill everyone” there.
Deputy chief Covelli said on Tuesday that police seized 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but said there was no sign that he had any weapons at the time, in September 2019.
Police also responded to a reported suicide attempt by the suspect in April 2019, Deputy Chief Covelli said.
Crimo legally purchased the rifle used in the Illinois attack over the past year, Deputy Chief Covelli said.
In total, police said, he bought five firearms, which were recovered by officers at his father’s home.
The revelation about his gun purchases is just the latest example of young men being able to acquire guns and commit massacres in recent months, despite clear warning signs about their mental health and propensity for violence.
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.
State police have defended how the application was handled, saying there was “inadequate basis at the time to determine an obvious and present danger” and refusing the application, the state police said in a statement.
Investigators who questioned the suspect and reviewed his social media posts have found no motive or any indication that he had targeted victims based on race, religion or other protected status, Deputy Chief Covelli said.
The gunman initially evaded arrest by dressing as a woman and blending in with the fleeing crowd.