Highland Park Gunman Charged With 7 Counts of First-Degree Murder

Police removed 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword from the home of the alleged shooter in 2019 after he threatened to ”kill everyone”

UPDATE: TUESDAY, JULY 5The 21-year-old gunman who police believe opened fire at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois on Monday morning has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, one for each of the people he killed, CBS News reports.

“These are just the first of many charges that will be filed,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said. Prosecutors expect to file dozens more charges, including aggravated battery, for each of the surviving victims. At least 38 people were injured in the Monday’s shooting, which Rinehart called a “premeditated and calculated attack.”

Crimo faces up to life in prison without possibility of parole if convicted.

During a Tuesday afternoon, authorities identified six victims who were killed in the attack.

The victims include 35-year-old Irina McCarthy, 37-year-old Kevin McCarthy, 63-year-old Jacquelyn Sundheim, 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein, 79-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, and 88-year-old Steven Strauss. All of the victims were from Highland Park except Toledo-Zaragoza who was from Morelos, Mexico, but had moved back to Highland Park at the urging of family members, the New York Times reports.

Authorities also confirmed that a seventh victim, who has not been identified yet, died at a hospital located outside of Lake County, Jennifer Banek, a coroner for Lake County, told reporters.

During Tuesday’s conference, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said Crimo came to the attention of police back in April 2018 for a suicide attempt.

“This was a delayed report, so Highland Park still responded to the residents a week later spoke with Crimo spoke with Crimo’s parents and the matter was being handled by mental health professionals at that time. There was no law enforcement action to be taken,” Covelli said, CBS News reports.

A second incident took place in September 2019 when a family member told police that Crimo had a knife collection and “was going to kill everyone,” according to authorities. Police removed 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword, from Crimo’s home. At the time, there was “no probable cause for arrest and no complaints were signed by the witnesses,” Covelli said.

Authorities have not yet identified a motive for the attack, Covelli said.

The gunman who attacked a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois on Monday fired more than 70 rounds with an AR-15 style gun, killing seven people and wounding several others, according to police, who said the shooter initially avoided capture by dressing as a woman and blending into the fleeing crowd, WGN9 reports.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said during a news conference that 21-year-old Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III climbed on a rooftop of a nearby business via a fire escape ladder before using a high-powered rifle “similar to an AR-15” to spray bullets into the crowd just minutes after the holiday parade began.

The gunfire erupted around 10:10 a.m. and sent hundreds of paradegoers fleeing in terror and leaving behind lawn chairs, strollers, and other belongings. Five of the people killed at the parade were adults, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek told the Associated Press.

(Photo courtesy of the FBI)

Crimo was able to blend into the crowd while wearing a dress and a long wig, according to authorities. He then walked to his mother’s nearby home then fled the area in her car, WGN9 reports. A community member spotted him and called North Chicago police, who were able to apprehend Crimo and take him into custody without incident. Police said they found a second rifle in the car following the arrest.

In addition to the six people killed on Monday, more than 30 people were injured in the attack, Covelli said, adding that Crimo appears to have acted alone.

The NorthShore Hospital group received 38 patients, including at least four to five children, WGN9 reports. Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest said they received nine patients—six of which had suffered gunshot wounds.

In an earlier news conference on Monday, a NorthShore rep said that 19 victims ranging from ages eight to 85 had been treated and released. One of the children injured in the attack had to be airlifted to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, WGN9 reports.

At this time, the exact total of shooting victims is unknown but authorities confirmed Tuesday that a seventh person died from wounds sustained in the attack.

Covelli and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering—who banned assault rifles in 2013—said Crimo legally purchased the firearm in Illinois within the past year.

Police in Highwood, Illinois—the suspect’s hometown—had no prior crime-related interactions with Crimo, Highwood Police Chief Dave Wentz told CNN. The only contact the department had with him was a noncriminal incident in which Crimo was present when he was a juvenile.

“We literally have nothing on him,” Wentz said. “He was not potentially involved in anything.”

Paul Crimo, the accused gunman’s uncle, said he is “heartbroken” to learn his nephew was believed to be responsible for the deadly shooting.

“There were no signs that I saw that would make him do this,” CNN reports. “He’s usually on his own. He’s a lonely, quiet person. He keeps everything to himself.”

Robert Crimo Jr., the alleged gunman’s father and who previously was a candidate for mayor of Highland Park, said: “We are good people here, and to have this is devastating. I’m so heartbroken for all the families who lost their lives.”

Though the suspect doesn’t have a criminal record, authorities did find that Crimo had posted music on several streaming services under the stage name Awake the Rapper and that he posted music videos featuring ominous lyrics and animated scenes of gun violence, CNN reports.

In a disturbing video titled “Are you Awake,” a cartoon animation of a stick-figure shooter resembling Crimo is seen wearing tactical gear and carrying out an attack with a rifle. The suspect, seen with multicolored hair and face tattoos, narrates, “I need to just do it. It is my destiny.”

Covelli said at Tuesday’s news conference that law enforcement is reviewing the videos, noting that authorities weren’t previously made aware of them.

“We’ll look at them and see what they reveal,” he told the press.

In an interview on Tuesday, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said Crimo’s online postings “reflected a plan and a desire to commit carnage for a long time in advance.”

“And it’s one of those things where you step back and you say, what happened? How did somebody become this angry and hateful to then take it out on innocent people who literally were just having a family day out?”

YouTube and Spotify have since removed content from Crimo’s accounts but both declined to answer questions about whether the content had been flagged or previously reported for violations of their respective terms of service, CNN reports. The investigation remains ongoing.

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