The parents of Highland Park shooter Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo III, 21, have finally spoken out – and branded their sons actions a ‘tragedy’ – after it emerged the shooter’s dad helped him buy a gun months after cops confiscated his knife collection.
Bob Crimo and his wife, Denise, said in a brief statement: ‘We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the paradegoers, the community, and our own. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody.’
But it emerged on Tuesday that Bob Crimo had sponsored his killer son’s application for a gun permit in 2020, even after the murderer had threatened to kill himself and his family.
In September 2019, Illinois State Police received a ‘clear and present danger’ report related to Robert Crimo’s family after he threatened to kill himself and his family. They removed knives from the property, but later returned those, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Crimo, who was 19 at the time, was not arrested. He was two years under the legal age minimum to apply for the firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card needed to legally obtain a weapon.
But despite the murder-suicide threats, Crimo’s father sponsored him for a FOID card in December 2019, and it was approved a month later, in January 2020.
Officials have since said they approved the permit because there was ‘insufficient basis’ to deem Crimo dangerous, with the only record on his file a 2016 ordnance violation for possession of tobacco.
That meant Crimo was legally-able to buy the weapon used in Tuesday’s massacre.
He faces life in prison after being charged by the Illinois State’s Attorney’s office with seven counts of first-degree murder. Lake County State Attorney Eric Reinhart says Crimo faces ‘dozens’ of other charges related to the people he injured.
Prior to the release of the statement, the family’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told News Nation Now in an interview that the family are unaware of any red flags against Crimo.
Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo, 21, is facing seven counts of first degree murder following the July fourth parade shooting in Highland Park, according to state prosecutors
Greenberg said: ‘I don’t think anyone’s ever aware of any red flags that make them think that their son is gonna go out in their own community and start shooting people.’
He added: ‘Had they seen any signs of it, I think they would have acted. They’re responsible parents.’
Police at first said that Crimo was not known to them but on Tuesday, they revealed he was interviewed twice by authorities in 2019.
The first was in April 2019 a week after he threatened to kill himself. The second was in September 2019, after he threatened to ‘kill everyone’ in his family.
Police recovered 16 knives, a dagger and sword from his home but he was not arrested.
Instead, he was able to turn 21 and buy two assault rifles in Illinois, along with three other types of gun. It remains unclear why the two previous incidents were not flagged when he legally purchased the weapons.
In December 2019, the suspect bought a firearm with his father’s help as he was under the age of 21 at the time. Crimo’s father sponsored his son’s application for a Firearm Owners Identification card in Illinois.
The attorney rejected the allegation that the family should have been alarmed at the notion of Crimo having a firearm just months after being interviewed by the police.
Greenberg said: ‘I think the bigger issue here is why is a kid able to get a FOID card and then purchase a military assault weapon? I think that’s a bigger question that we should be asking ourselves. Not whether the family should have sponsored him to get a FOID card when there were no red flags and it was perfectly lawful.’
He echoed the family’s statement on the shooting saying: ‘It’s just a tragedy all the way around. Imagine waking up one day and knowing that your loved one goes to a parade and gets killed. Imagine waking up one day and knowing that your child may never get out of jail.’
Greenberg is not representing Crimo on the murder charges, he is being represented by high-profile defense attorney Thomas Durkin.
Durkin told DailyMail.com that he was first contacted by the suspect’s family on the day of the shooting and retained the following day.
He added that he did not have any further knowledge about the shooting other than what is already in the public domain.
Bob Crimo Jr. and his wife, Denise, said in a brief statement: ‘We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the paradegoers, the community, and our own. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody’
The suspect’s father Bob Jr. ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Nancy Rotering. Rotering ran on a platform that included promoting gun control.
On Tuesday morning, Rotering confirmed that Crimo ‘legally obtained’ his weapon. She said she taught him when he was a cub scout, and that he was a normal ‘little boy’. Police are yet to confirm what type of weapon he used, but witnesses and videos suggest it was a high-powered rifle.
‘It’s one of those situations where you stand back and ask, what happened? How did somebody become this angry, this hateful, to then take it out on innocent people who were just literally having a family day out.?
‘He was just a little boy,’ she said.
The charges were announced in a press conference by the Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart the day after the July 4 parade shooting that claimed the lives of seven people and injured dozens more.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole.
In his remarks, Rinehart said that Crimo could be facing nearly a dozen further charges, including assault and attempted murder.
He said: ‘These are the first of many charges.’
During the press conference, Rinehart did not speculate on the motive for the shooting.
The attorney did praise red flag laws and called for a nationwide ban on assault rifles.
He added that when Crimo makes his first appearance in court via Zoom on July 6, prosecutors will be asking for the suspect to be held without bail.
Speaking about the 2019 incidents, Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office disclosed the prior incidents at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
In the April 2019 incident, ‘an individual contacted Highland Park department a week after learning of him attempting to suicide. It was a delayed report.
‘They responded to the residence, spoke to him, his parents and the matter was being handled with the mental health profession. There was no law enforcement action to be taken.
‘In September 2019, a family remember reported that he said he was going to “kill everyone” and that he had a collection of knives. They responded and took 16 knives and a dagger from his home.
Bob Crimo Sr arriving home on Tuesday, talking on the phone
The suspect’s uncle told CNN that the FBI made contact with the family around 2:30 pm on the day of the shooting
Crimo is also accused of ‘sizing up’ the Central Avenue Synagogue in Highland Park, Illinois, according to the Times of Israel.
Rabbi Yosef Schanowitz is quoted by the website as saying that he recognized the suspect from an incident that occurred in April 2022. The rabbi said: ‘During the last Passover holiday, that person entered the Chabad synagogue. We have an armed security guard sitting in front… I approached him and sternly asked him to leave as I noticed he was not a member of our community.’
Blumenthal said that Crimo was wearing all black clothes and black gloves ‘in the goth style.’ The head of security said that he checked Crimo’s backpack for weapons but didn’t find any.
He added: ‘He said his name was Bobby and he lived in the neighborhood. I watched him the whole time.’ Blumenthal added that Crimo then left on his bike.
Crimo, 21, has not yet been charged for the massacre, but he remains in custody and is speaking with the authorities. He is shown yesterday fleeing the attack in disguise
Six of the seven people that were killed in the shooting have been named. They are Steve Straus, 88; Katherine Baldstein, 64; Jacki Sondheim, 63; Nicholas Toledo Zaragoza, 78; and husband and wife Irina and Kevin McCarthy, 35 and 37.
The McCarthys leave behind a two-year-old son, Aiden, who was found wandering alone in the aftermath of the shooting.
Police said they do not think she knew that he was the shooter when he asked her for her car. She gave it to him and he fled the area.
It comes as questions over the gunman’s motive, lifestyle and his obsession with the numbers 47 arise.
Crimo had a 47 tattoo on his cheek and the numbers are emblazoned on the side of a car.
The vehicle was left abandoned in the front yard of his home on Tuesday, after it was raided by FBI agents. Crimo also posted the number all over his social media accounts, where he also shared ominous rap videos that glamorized school shootings.
The gunman’s car outside his home in Highland Park, Illinois, on Tuesday. He was obsessed with the number 47 – which is the date of July 4th in reverse
On Tuesday, it was revealed:
- Crimo legally purchased the semi-automatic weapon used in the attack along with one other rifle and more, unspecified weapons, at a local store
- He fired 70 rounds from the roof of a local store before ditching the weapon and running into the crowd himself
- In total, 45 people are dead or injured as a result of the attack
- A female witness said that she believes she saw the suspect drop a rifle wrapped in a red blanket
- He walked to his mother’s house then asked her for her car – she gave it to him, apparently unaware that he was at that time the shooter
- His mother gave him her vehicle, which he used to flee the area and drive eight miles north before being arrested
- Investigators are still interviewing Crimo but they have not been able to determine his motive
- Prior to Monday’s shooting, Crimo is thought to have traveled recently to Madison, Wisconsin, nearly 150 miles from Highland Park
Paul Crimo, his uncle, has since told how he was behaving normally on Sunday night. He claims he showed ‘no signs of violence’ – despite YouTube rap videos in which he glamorized school shootings. The shooter’s motive for yesterday’s attack remains unknown.
‘I’m heartbroken. I’m so heartbroken. There were no signs that I saw that would make him do this. He’s a quiet kid. He’s usually on his own. He’s a lonely, quiet person. He keeps everything to himself,’ Paul Crimo, his uncle, told CNN.
In the same interview, Paul Crimo confirmed that his nephew lived in a small apartment behind the house owned by Bob Crimo Jr., along Pleasant Avenue in Highwood.
‘Everything was as normal,’ he said, adding that he was sitting on a recliner in his home the night before the shooting, looking at his computer. We are good people here, and to have this is devastating. I’m so heartbroken for all the families who lost their lives.’
In a separate interview with Fox32, Paul Crimo said: ‘I saw no signs of trouble. And if I did see signs, I would have said something. I’m deeply heartbroken and I’ll be heartbroken for the rest of my life.’
Bobby Crimo, 21, (right) with his little brother Sam (left). The pair attended Lincoln Elementary School and between 2008 and 2014, they attended the LEAP afterschool program. They were routinely the last kids to be picked up, according to coaches who taught them
The gunman opened fire at 10.14am on Monday, barely 15 minutes into the parade. He then fled the scene and hid throughout the day before eventually being arrested at 6.30pm in Lake Forrest, eight miles north of where the massacre unfolded
Little boy, 2, found bloodied and alone during Highland Park parade shooting is ORPHANED after both his parents were killed in massacre
The little boy who was found bloodied during the Highland Park parade shooting on Monday and lifted from underneath his father is left orphaned after both is parents were killed in the gruesome attack.
Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people killed during the Fourth of July celebration.
Their two-year-old son, Aiden, had been separated from his parents during the chaos and luckily unharmed. He has been placed in the care of his grandparents.
A GoFundMe page was established to help Aiden’s family with ‘raising, caring for and supporting’ him. The account has already raised more than $79,000.
The little boy who was found bloodied during the Highland Park parade shooting on Monday and lifted from underneath his father is left orphaned after both is parents were killed in the gruesome attack
Aiden was found by Lauren Silva, 38, of Deerfield, and her boyfriend after they heard gunshots as they were heading to breakfast at Walker Bros restaurant.
Silva told the Daily Beast they emerged from a parking garage a few blocks away from the shooting just as the violence began to unfold.
‘We were just opening the door to walk up the stairs and we heard it…boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,’ she told the Beast. ‘And it sounded like someone was, like, pounding on the glass doors.’
‘They were trying to stop the bleeding so I brought the boy downstairs into the garage.’
Once inside the garage, she managed to clean out his scrapes and washed the blood off him. She said he was wearing one shoe and his sock was covered in blood.
‘He kept asking if mom and dad are going to come back soon,’ she said.
Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people killed during the Fourth of July celebration
Silva reemerged from the parking garage after 20 minutes to see how the father was doing. She handed the child off to a family she was hunkering down in the garage with, who took him to the hospital and later handed him to police. He was eventually reunited with his grandparents, according to Silva.
Dana Ruder Ring, who was taking care of the child until 8 p.m., according to Fox 32 Chicago, posted the original photo of the boy to help identify him.
She told Fox 32 he’s too young to know his parents’ the names.
Silva, a mother of two, said she’s holding on to the memory of the ‘kid’s face and his touch and the sound of his voice.’
‘I feel like I want to hold on to, like, a little bit of emotion that I feel—which is telling that boy that his dad was going to come back,’ she said.