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Father of Suspect in Highland Park July 4th Massacre Facing Criminal Charges for Helping Son Get Firearm Owner ID Card

Left: Denise Pesina is wearing a black jacket, white shirt, and cream scarf; she has long dark hair pulled back and glasses. Robert Crimo, Jr., is bald, wearing a gray jacket over a white button-down collared shirt, and glasses. Right: Robert Crimo III is looking directly at the camera, a slight smile on his face; he has dark hair to his shoulders and long bangs, and a tattoo under his right eye.

Left: Denise Pesina, left, and Robert Crimo, parents of Robert E. Crimo III, leave after their son’s second hearing in Lake County court Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Waukegan, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, Pool). Right: Robert Crimo III booking photo (via the Highland Park, Ill. Police Department.)

The father of the man accused of gunning down 4th of July parade-goers in a Chicago suburb has been criminally charged for helping his son get a license to legally own firearms.

Charges against Robert Crimo Jr., 58, were filed Thursday, according to an announcement from the office of the Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart. Crimo is the father of Robert Crimo III, 21, who is facing murder charges for allegedly killing seven people at the Highland Park Independence Day parade in July.

Crimo Jr., a failed 2019 candidate for Highland Park mayor, was arrested by the Highland Park Police Department on Friday, Rinehart’s office said in the announcement. He faces seven counts of felony Reckless Conduct for allegedly helping his son procure a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, a requirement for legal ownership of a firearm in Illinois.

The younger Crimo is alleged to have opened fire on the parade before fleeing the scene, concealing himself in women’s clothing in order to blend in with the crowd. He is currently facing 117 charges, including murder, for killing seven people and wounding 48 people.

Prosecutors and Highland Park police officers allege that Crimo Jr. was criminally reckless at the time that he helped Crimo III get the FOID card. They also allege that helping his son obtain a FOID card was a contributing cause to the bodily harm suffered by the victims killed in the mass shooting.

While Illinois residents must be over 21 years old in order to get a FOID card, guardians can sponsor someone younger than that. Crimo Jr. has openly admitted to helping his son get the card, and in July, told local ABC affiliate WLS that he doesn’t regret it, despite multiple red flags indicating Crimo III’s dangerousness.

In April 2019, a police report shows that Crimo III’s mother told police her son “attempted to commit suicide by machete” and that he had a “history of attempts,” according to WLS.

That September, a member of Crimo III’s family reportedly alerted police that Crimo had a knife collection and that he had said he was going to “kill everyone.” Officials confiscated more than a dozen knives, along with a dagger and a sword, from Crimo’s home at the time.

Nevertheless, the suspect’s father didn’t indicate that he felt any remorse over helping his son get the weapon he allegedly used to rain fire down on dozens of people from the top of a building along the parade route.

“Guilty, no, he did it all on his own,” Crimo Jr. told WLS.

Crimo Jr. faces up to three years in prison.

“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon,” Rinehart said. “They are the first line of defense. In this case, that system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son. He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway. This was criminally reckless and a contributing cause to the bodily harm suffered by the victims on July 4th.”

Court records indicate that Crimo Jr. is being held on $500,000 bond. A bond hearing will be held Saturday, Rinehart’s office said. His case is before a different judge than the one overseeing his son’s case.

Robert Crimo III’s next court date is scheduled for Jan. 31, 2023.

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