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Father of Highland Park parade shooting suspect charged with reckless conduct

Robert E. Crimo Jr. turned himself in Friday and was released on $50,000 cash bond Saturday . Prosecutors said he helped his son buy the weapon used in the deadly July Fourth shooting.

The father of the Highland Park, Illinois, parade shooting suspect has been charged in connection with helping his son obtain a firearm and ammunition, officials announced Friday.

Robert E. Crimo Jr. was charged with seven counts of reckless conduct, one for each person killed in the July Fourth parade attack, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.

Prosecutors said Crimo Jr. helped his son, Robert E. Crimo III, purchase the AR-15-style weapon used in the shooting by sponsoring his son’s Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) application.

The shooting suspect was 21 at the time of the attack but 19 when he bought the semiautomatic rifle and ammunition, they said. Authorities have said he sponsored the application despite previous threats by his son to harm himself and loved ones.

Under state law, gun purchasers 18 to 20 generally must have a parent endorse the buy, prosecutors said.

"He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway," Rinehart said at a news conference Friday. "This was criminally reckless."

Robert E. Crimo Jr. during a  hearing for his son in Waukegan, Ill. on Aug. 3, 2022.
Robert E. Crimo Jr. during a hearing for his son in Waukegan, Ill. on Aug. 3, 2022.Nam Y. Huh / AP

An attorney for Crimo Jr., George M. Gomez, said in a statement that the charges are baseless.

"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," Gomez said. "These charges are absurd and we will fight them every step of the way." 

Crimo Jr. turned himself in to Highland Park police Friday afternoon. Following a hearing Saturday, he was released on a $50,000 cash bond. He must abide by a curfew, surrender all firearms as well as his FOID card, and cannot purchase new weapons.

The elder Crimo previously spoke to the New York Post regarding his son's purchase.

"He bought everything on his own, and they’re registered to him," the father said. "They make me like I groomed him to do all this."

Crimo Jr. faces up to a three-year sentence if convicted.

Authorities allege the shooting suspect climbed to the top of a Highland Park building, used that elevated spot as a sniper’s nest, and opened fire on people attending the town’s July Fourth parade.

Along with the seven killed, a dozen more people were injured.

Under the purchase affidavit signed by the father, Crimo Jr. agreed to be “liable for any damages resulting from the minor applicant’s use of firearms or firearm ammunition," authorities have noted.

Crimo Jr. is a former Highland Park mayoral candidate who has voiced support for Second Amendment protections.

He co-signed that FOID application in December 2019, three months after police visited the family’s home. A relative reported that Crimo had threatened to kill family members, Illinois State Police have said.

A grand jury indicted the shooting suspect in July on 117 charges, including 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.