Could Illinois parade shooting suspect's father be held liable? Prosecutor won't say

The suspect, 21-year-old Robert Crimo III, was arraigned Wednesday in Lake County on seven first degree murder charges. More charges are expected.

Updated: July 6, 2022 - 11:26pm

It’s unclear what liabilities the father of the suspected shooter in the Highland Park Independence Day mass shooting could face.

The suspect, 21-year-old Robert Crimo III, was arraigned Wednesday in Lake County on seven first degree murder charges. More charges are likely. He’s being represented by a public defender.

Police revealed Crimo had looked at a possible attack in Madison, Wisconsin, after the Highland Park attack. He also had an affinity with the numbers four and seven, though police didn’t elaborate further on any other motive.

Asked if Crimo’s father is cooperating with the investigation, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesperson Chris Covelli wouldn’t say.

“I don’t wanna go into levels of cooporation,” Covelli told reporters Wednesday. “We’re talking with everybody though and working on getting the most cooperation we can out of everybody.”

Police said Crimo legally purchased five firearms in Illinois over the span of several months, including after he turned 21.

“In 2020, he bought four weapons,” Covelli said, a rifle used in the July 4 attack, two other rifles and a shotgun. Then in 2021, Covelli said Crimo purchased a handgun after his 21st birthday.

Illinoisans wanting to buy guns or ammunition in the state must have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card. Despite local police reporting to Illinois State Police a September 2019 domestic call to Crimo’s house where they confiscated knives after family members said Crimo threatened to kill them, ISP said his father sponsored the minor to get a FOID card in December of that year.

“The September 2019 Clear and Present Danger report made by the Highland Park Police Department was made in response to threats allegedly directed at the family, but the report indicates when police went to the home and asked the individual if he felt like harming himself or others, he responded no,” the ISP statement said. “Additionally and importantly, the father claimed the knives were his and they were being stored in the individual’s closet for safekeeping. Based upon that information, the Highland Park Police returned the knives to the father later that afternoon.”

In a separate statement Tuesday, ISP said the agency had “no mental health prohibitor reports submitted by healthcare facilities or personnel.”

Despite the guardian’s affidavit for the 2019 FOID applications saying they are to be held liable for damages resulting in the minor’s misuse of firearms, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart wouldn't say if that’ll be pursued.

“I don’t want to comment on that,” Rinehart said. “I don’t want to answer that question right now in terms of what our work continues to be to look at all the information and evidence in this case.”

Illinois State Police didn’t address the issue of liability when reached for comment. The Illinois Attorney General’s office didn’t immediately respond by email Wednesday.

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