HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — As memorial services and funerals started Friday for some of victims of the July Fourth parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, the suspect’s uncle apologized on behalf of the family.
Paul Crimo said he was in disbelief after learning his nephew was accused of gunning down seven people in this affluent Chicago suburb.
"We're sorry, we're just sorry. We're very sorry," Paul Crimo told NBC News as he was driving out of the home he shares with the suspect and the accused shooter's father.
"I couldn't even believe it, very hard. It's very hard, it's very hard, No sleep and my whole life changed."
The younger Crimo was arrested hours after the deadly attack which left dozens more injured.
Crimo was still under 21 in 2020 when he purchased the AR-15-style weapon allegedly used in Monday’s attack — a purchase he could only make because his father sponsored his Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) application.
It's unclear what, if any, criminal culpability could fall on the suspect's dad.
A lawyer for the suspect's parents said Thursday that he's no longer representing them, citing an undisclosed conflict.
"I remain hopeful that at some point this terrible tragedy will result in meaningful change," attorney Steve Greenberg said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the massacre continues to weigh on first responders.
"For this to happen here, it hurts all of our officers," the city’s police chief, Louis Jogmen, said.
He recalled how the morning started out celebratory, with him passing out baseball cards to youngsters during the parade.
Days later, a mother of one of those children told Jogmen the casual interaction was lifesaving because it “delayed her and her son from going over” to the eventual line of fire on the parade route.
Highland Park fire Chief Joe Schrage said he believes his team's training in trauma care was crucial that day in saving lives.
"Because one of the most important things, really, to have a viable trauma victim, especially with a penetrating wound, is to stop the bleeding," he said.
One firefighter tied about 15 tourniquets, according to the chief.
"So, those people probably did have a much more viable chance right away," he said. "I do believe that we saved every viable victim that was there that."
Funeral details for the remaining victims have not been made public.
Katherine Goldstein, 64, who was mourning her mother’s recent death, was looking to get out of the house and have some fun when she decided to attend the holiday parade, her daughter, Cassie Goldstein, said. Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37, were attending the parade with their 2-year-old son, Aiden.
"He kept on saying, 'shots, shots,' " Tom Brooks, a man who helped the toddler, told NBC's "TODAY" show. "He would say, 'Mom shot, dad shot.' And he just kept on saying that."
Aiden was unharmed in the massacre, according to a fundraiser verified by GoFundMe. He will be cared for by family members.
As of Friday, more than $3 million in donations had poured in for the toddler.
Debra Jones and Maggie Vespa reported from Highland Park, Illinois, while David K. Li and Melissa Chan reported from New York.