The suspect returned to Illinois, where he was later arrested, after deciding he was not ready to carry out another attack in Wisconsin, the Major Crimes Task Force spokesperson said. of Lake County, Christopher Covelli, at a press conference following a hearing where the 21-year-old man was denied bail.
The parade shooting left another American community reeling – this time Highland Park, home to around 30,000 people near the shore of Lake Michigan. More than two dozen people were injured, some seriously, and hundreds of walkers, parents and children fled in panic.
Covelli said it did not appear the suspect planned another attack in Wisconsin, but fled there, attended another Independence Day celebration and “seriously considered “to shoot it. The assailant had given up the semi-automatic rifle he used in Illinois, but he had another similar rifle and about 60 extra rounds with him, according to Covelli.
Police later found his phone in Middleton, Wisconsin, about 130 miles from Highland Park.
MORE: 2-year-old found bloodied beneath his dying parents after shooting at parade
For hours before his arrest, police warned that the shooter was still at large and should be considered armed and dangerous. Several nearby towns have canceled events, including parades and fireworks. Most of the festivities in and around Wisconsin’s capital have taken place.
Lake County Assistant District Attorney Ben Dillon said in court the shooter climbed the fire escape from a building above Highland Park Parade, ‘looked down, took aim’ and fired at people across the street. He left the 83-bullet casings and three ammunition magazines on the roof. He initially evaded capture by disguising himself as a woman and blending into the fleeing crowd, police say.
Some of the injured remained hospitalized in critical condition, Covelli said, and the death toll could rise further. Already, the shooting deaths have left a 2-year-old boy without parents, families mourning the loss of beloved grandparents and a synagogue mourning the death of a worshiper who for decades had also worked in the staff.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said he plans to bring charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery for each person injured.
“There will be many, many more charges to come,” he told a news conference, believing those charges would be announced later this month.
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If convicted of the first-degree murder charges, the shooter would receive a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The suspect, Robert Crimo III, wore a long-sleeved black shirt when appearing in court via video. When the prosecutor described the shooting, he said little other than telling the judge he didn’t have a lawyer.
On Tuesday, Thomas A. Durkin, a prominent Chicago-based attorney, said he would represent Crimo and intended to plead not guilty to all charges. But Durkin told the court on Wednesday he had a conflict of interest with the case. Crimo has been designated as a public defender.
Rinehart also left open the possibility of indicting Crimo’s parents, telling reporters he “doesn’t want to answer” that question at this time as the investigation continues.
Steve Greenberg, the attorney for Crimo’s parents, told The Associated Press that the parents are not worried about being charged with anything related to their son’s case.
MORE: Shooting survivors describe seeing suspected rooftop shooter during 4th of July parade in Highland Park
Questions also arose about how the suspect could have circumvented Illinois’ relatively strict gun laws to legally purchase five guns, including the high-powered rifle used in the shooting, although the authorities were called to his home twice in 2019 for threats of violence and suicide.
Police attended the home following a call from a family member who said Crimo was threatening “to kill everyone”. Covelli said police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but said there was no sign he had any firearms at the time, in September 2019. Police in April 2019 also responded to a suicide attempt reported by Crimo, Covelli said.
Illinois State Police, which issues gun owner licenses, said Crimo applied for a license in December 2019, when he was 19. His father sponsored his request and he purchased the semi-automatic rifles in 2020, according to Covelli.
In total, according to police, he purchased five firearms, which were recovered by officers from his father’s home. He bought four of the guns when he was under 21 and bought a fifth after his birthday last year.
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The revelations about his arms purchases offered just the latest example of young men who have been able to obtain weapons and carry out massacres in recent months despite glaring warning signs about their mental health and propensity for violence.
State police defended the way the request was handled, saying at the time “there was not sufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger” and denied the request, the court said. state police in a statement.
Investigators who interviewed the suspect and reviewed his social media posts did not determine a motive or find any indication that he was targeting victims by race, religion or other protected status, Covelli said.
In 2013, Highland Park officials approved a ban on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. A local doctor and the Illinois State Rifle Association quickly challenged the liberal suburban position. The legal battle ended at the gates of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 when the justices refused to hear the case and let suburban restrictions remain in place.
When asked if Crimo’s case demonstrated loopholes in state law, Rinehart said “the loophole in state gun laws would be that we don’t ban guns. assault”.
Under Illinois law, the purchase of firearms can be denied to those convicted of crimes, drug addicts, or those deemed capable of harming themselves or others. This last provision could have prevented a suicidal Crimo from obtaining a weapon.
But under the law, to whom this provision applies must be decided by “a court, board, commission or other lawful authority”.
The state has a so-called red flag law designed to stop dangerous people before they kill, but it requires family members, relatives, roommates or police to ask a judge to order seizure. firearms.
Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, posting dozens of videos and songs, some disturbing and violent, on social media.
Mass shootings in the United States
As of July 4, 2022, over 300 mass shootings have been reported this year in the United States
The Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one with four or more people injured or killed, not including the perpetrator, counted 692 mass shootings in 2021, 610 in 2020 and 417 in 2019.
The 4th of July recorded the highest number of mass shootings and the highest number of people injured of any day in 2021.
There were 11 mass shootings on Independence Day, leaving 51 injured.
July also had the highest number of mass shootings of any month in 2021 with 86, June had the second highest with 77.
Foody reported from Chicago, Babwin from Waukegan, Illinois. Associated Press writers Mike Householder in Highland Park, Stephen Groves in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, and researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York also contributed.
Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.