Albuquerque Journal

Father of July 4 parade shooting suspect indicted

Prosecutor­s say he knew son threatened violcnce yet helped him get a gun


CHICAGO — An Illinois grand jury on Wednesday formally indicted the father of a man charged with fatally shooting seven people at a Fourth of July parade in suburban Chicago, the Lake County State’s Attorney Office said.

The indictment charges Robert Crimo Jr., 58, with seven counts of reckless conduct. Prosecutor­s have said he helped his son, Robert Crimo III, to obtain a gun license years before the shooting in Highland Park, even though the then-19-year-old had threatened violence.

Sara Avalos, a spokespers­on for the prosecutor­s office, confirmed the grand jury indictment and said the father will be arraigned Thursday.

The father was arrested in December, also on seven felony counts of reckless conduct, one for each person killed. Each count carries a maximum 3-year prison term. The longtime resident and well-known figure in Highland Park was released after his arrest on a $50,000 bond.

At a brief hearing last month, prosecutor­s told Judge George Strickland at a Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, north of Highland Park, they needed more time to present evidence to the grand jury.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart has said the accusation­s against the father are based on his sponsorshi­p of his son’s applicatio­n for a gun license in December 2019. Authoritie­s say Robert Crimo III attempted suicide by machete in April 2019 and in September 2019 was accused by a family member of making threats to “kill everyone.”

“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenagers should have a weapon,” Rinehart said after the father’s arrest. “In this case, the system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son. He knew what he knew and he signed the form anyway.”

Authoritie­s say Illinois State Police reviewed the son’s gun license applicatio­n and found no reason to deny it because he had no arrests, no criminal record, no serious mental health problems, no orders of protection and no other behavior that would disqualify him.

George M. Gomez, the father’s Chicago-area attorney, has called the charges against his client “baseless and unpreceden­ted.”

Legal experts have said it’s rare for an accused shooter’s parent or guardian to face charges — in part because it’s difficult to prove such charges.

In one notable exception, a Michigan prosecutor in 2021 filed involuntar­y manslaught­er charges against the parents of a teen accused of fatally shooting four students at his high school. A trial date was delayed while the state appeals court considers an appeal.

A grand jury indicted Robert Crimo III in July on 21 firstdegre­e murder counts, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, representi­ng the seven people killed and dozens wounded in the attack at the holiday parade in Highland Park.

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