The man suspected of raining gunfire over an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb has officially been charged with murder, and authorities say they intend to file many more charges.
Robert E. Crimo, III, is facing seven counts of first-degree murder, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced at a press conference late Tuesday.
The announcement was met with instant applause from the crowd in attendance.
The charges, Rinehart said, were “for the killing spree [Crimo] has unleashed against our community.” He added that the murder charges were only the “first of many charges” to be filed against Crimo.
“There will be more charges,” Rinehart again promised while anticipating “dozens” of counts — including attempted murder and other alleged physical and psychological harms.
The murder charges against Crimo alone would lead to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole if Crimo is convicted, Rinehart said, as the crowd again responded with applause.
At least seven people were killed after Crimo allegedly used an assault weapon to open fire on the crowd at the Independence Day parade Monday in Highland Park. The massacre started shortly after the parade began at around 10:00 a.m.; Crimo had taken a position on the roof of a building along the parade route.
Crimo was apprehended hours later. As Law&Crime previously reported, he is believed to have worn women’s clothing to blend in as terrified parade-goers fled the area.
Six people were reported to have been killed as of Monday; a seventh person has since died. Dozens have been injured.
Among the victims are Katherine Goldstein, 64; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; and Steven Straus, 88; all of Highland Park. Another victim, Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, originally from Mexico, had recently moved to Highland Park to live with family members. Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were also killed; the couple leaves behind a now-orphaned two-year-old son. The McCarthys were also reportedly from Highland Park.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Rinehart emphasized his belief in the strength of Illinois’ so-called “red flag law,” which aims to limit firearm access for people who have been determined by a judge to be dangerous.
But it’s time to go further, he argued.
“In addition to red flag laws, we should also ban assault weapons in Illinois and beyond,” Rinehart suggested. Again, the crowd responded with cheers and applause.
In 2019, a family member of the defendant’s 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.
Lake Count Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli confirmed that Crimo acquired a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card — and the weapon he allegedly used in Monday’s massacre – at some point after that. While Illinois residents must be over 21 years old in order to get a FOID card, guardians can sponsor someone younger than that. On Tuesday, Covelli declined to comment on whether a guardian sponsored Crimo, who is currently 21 years old. However, Chicago FOX affiliate WFLD-TV reported that Crimo’s father sponsored his firearm purchase.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement are apparently working together on the investigation into Crimo, and John Lausch, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, hinted that federal charges may be coming.
“These state murder charges are appropriate at this time,” Lausch said during Tuesday’s press conference. When asked about the possibility of federal charges, Lausch demurred, saying it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to comment at this time.
Online court and sheriff’s records did not reflect charges against Crimo or his exact location in custody.
Crimo is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday. Prosecutors will ask for him to be held in custody without the possibility of bail, Rinehart said.
[Image via YouTube screengrab/The Washington Post.]
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