Highland Park suspect’s father may have ‘responsibility’ in attack, police say

The father of Highland Park shooting suspect Robert E. Crimo III ‘may be responsible in certain circumstances’ for his son’s murderous actions, police said Wednesday while stopping short of tying the father to any guilt criminal.

The 21-year-old suspect was too young to get a 2019 firearms license from the state of Illinois, but his father, Bob Crimo Jr., sponsored one for him despite previous threats from his son to harm himself and his loved ones, authorities have previously said.

Crimo was still under 21 in 2020 when he bought the AR-15 type weapon believed to have been used in Monday’s attack – a purchase he was only able to make because his father sponsored its Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) application.

Under an affidavit signed by Crimo’s father, he agreed to be “liable for any damages resulting from the underage plaintiff’s use of firearms or firearm ammunition.”

When asked if the suspect’s parents might be in danger, Illinois State Police Superintendent Brendan Kelly said it was too early to tell.

“There will probably be civil lawsuits. Criminal proceedings and a criminal investigation are ongoing,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“Issues of guilt, responsibility, who may have liability in certain circumstances, are all part and parcel of this process. To make a conclusive statement, the Illinois State Police, weighing in on that, is not not appropriate.”

He added: “That decision and the answer to that question is something that will have to be decided by the court.”

Bob Crimo Jr. is a former candidate for mayor of Highland Park and has expressed support for Second Amendment protections.

He co-signed his son’s FOID request in December 2019, three months after police attended the family’s home because a relative reported that Crimo had threatened to kill family members, the court said. Illinois State Police.

At the time, 16 knives, a sword and a dagger were confiscated, but the suspect was not arrested as his family members refused to sign any complaints.

The elder Crimo called the incident a “childish outburst” in an interview with the New York Post.

He insisted he ‘did nothing wrong’ and said he sponsored his son’s application because he thought the use of firearms would be restricted to the shooting range .

“He bought everything on his own, and they are registered with him,” the father said. “They make me look like I’ve groomed him to do all of this.”

Young Crimo is accused of climbing to the top of a building in Highland Park and using the elevated spot as a sniper’s nest, opening fire on people attending the town’s 4th of July parade on Monday . Seven people were killed and a dozen others injured in the attack.

Various legal experts have said the suspect’s parents could face civil suits, but criminal charges are unlikely.

That’s largely because Crimo is an adult, said Sean Holihan, state legislative director at Giffords Law Center, a gun safety group.

“It’s hard to hold parents accountable when someone turns 21, even if they’re living at home,” he said. “When someone turns 21, we have agreed as a nation that someone has the full right to do whatever they want, except run for federal office and rent a car.”

Attorney Steve Greenberg, who is representing the suspect’s parents, said he agreed with that assessment but declined to comment further.

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office also declined to discuss that part of the investigation on Thursday.

“As the investigation into this matter is still ongoing, we cannot comment,” he said in a statement.

Parents of accused mass shooters are rarely held criminally responsible.

But in December 2021, Michigan prosecutors charged James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of a teenager accused of killing four people in a high school shooting, with manslaughter.

Legal experts said there are major differences in the Crumbley and Crimo case, including the ages of the suspects. The accused Michigan high school shooter was 15 at the time, while Crimo is 21.

Under Michigan law, a manslaughter charge can be pursued when one person’s negligent act or omission results in the death of another person. But Illinois requires proof of recklessness to secure a manslaughter conviction, said Chris Mattei, an attorney and former Connecticut prosecutor.

This means prosecutors have a higher standard than used to charge parents in Michigan, particularly because parents of an adult do not have the same legal obligations as parents of a minor.

“Anyone looking to prove a case of manslaughter against an adult’s parents would have a pretty steep hill to climb,” Mattei said.

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