‘Criminally reckless’: Highland Park suspect’s father arrested on 7 felony charges over deadly shooting

Highland Park shooter Robert Crimo III’s father, Robert Crimo Jr., has been arrested on seven counts of felony reckless conduct for helping his son obtain a gun.

“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon. They are the first line of defense,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced at a press conference Friday.

“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,”  he added.

A press release from Rinehart’s office notes that reckless conduct is a class 4 felony punishable by three years in prison. The release cautions though that reckless conduct charges “are typically served concurrently with each other.” This means Crimo Jr. is likely to serve only three years versus a full 21 years (3 * 7 counts).

As previously reported, Crimo III opened fire during an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois this past summer. Seven people wound up dead, and dozens were injured.

After the shooting, it was learned that Crimo III had obtained a gun thanks to help from his father.

To legally possess firearms or ammunition in the state of Illinois, residents “must have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police to any qualified applicant,” according to state police’s Firearms Services Bureau.

The Washington Post noted at the time of the shooting that when Crimo Jr.’s son, Robert Crimo III, had applied for a FOID card in December of 2019, he’d been “under 21 at the time.”

This meant that state law “required him to have the consent of a parent or guardian before he could own a firearm or ammunition.”

“According to state police, which issues the cards, Crimo’s father sponsored the permit application,” the Post reported.

Crimo Jr. did so despite the police having been summoned to the family’s home twice earlier that year because of his son’s behavior.

The first call occurred in April after his son made a suicide attempt, and the second call occurred in September — only three months before Crimo Jr. sponsored his son’s FOID card — after Crimo III threatened to kill his entire family.

The second incident led to a sword, a dagger, and 15 knives being confiscated.

Crimo Jr. dismissed the second incident as a “childish outburst” and even defended his son’s “collection” of various weapons.

“You know, I used to collect coins and baseball cards,” he dismissively said to the Post.

In interviews after the shootings, Crimo Jr. downplayed his actions.

“He bought everything on his own, and they’re registered to him. You know, he drove there, he ordered them, he picked them up, they did his background check on each one,” Crimo Jr. told the New York Post.

“They make me like I groomed him to do all this. I’ve been here my whole life, and I’m gonna stay here, hold my head up high, because I didn’t do anything wrong,” he added.

He also “described the entire situation as a nightmare, saying the family is just as shocked because he believes his son was raised with good morals. He also said he doesn’t regret helping his son get a FOID card because he was following the law,” according to Chicago station WLS.

“Like, that’s all it was … a consent form to allow my son to go through the process. They do background checks. Whatever that entails, I’m not exactly sure. And either you’re approved or denied. And he was approved and prior, right before 2021,” he said to the station.

Judge Judge Paul B. Novak apparently disagreed.

“The Honorable Judge Paul Novak found ‘probable cause’ for the charges and issued a warrant for Crimo Jr.’s arrest on Thursday. The bond hearing will be conducted on Saturday morning,” the press release from Rinehart’s office reads.

During the Saturday hearing, Novak set his bond at $50,000.

Crimo Jr.’s attorney, George Gomez, has called the charges “baseless and unprecedented.”

“This decision should alarm every single parent in the United States of America who according to the Lake County State’s Attorney knows exactly what is going on with their 19-year-old adult children and can be held criminally liable for actions taken nearly three years later. These charges are absurd and we will fight them every step of the way,” he said in a statement reported by CNN.

He reportedly added that while his client sympathizes with the victims of his son’s mass shooting, the charges are “politically motivated and a distraction from the real change that needs to happen in this country.”

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