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Father of accused July 4 parade shooter arrested on reckless conduct charges

The father of Robert Crimo III, who is accused of killing at least seven people during an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb, now faces his own criminal charges for helping his son legally purchase firearms.

CHICAGO (CN) — Prosecutors in Lake County, Illinois, announced Friday afternoon that Highland Park police had arrested Robert Crimo Jr., the father of accused mass shooter Robert Crimo III. He faces seven felony reckless conduct charges for sponsoring his son's firearm owner ID card application in 2019.

Crimo III used that FOID card to legally purchase the weapon he would later, allegedly, turn on attendees of Highland Park's 2022 Independence Day parade.

"Robert Crimo Jr. ... took a reckless and unjustified risk when he decided on December 16, 2019, to sign his son's application for a firearm owner's ID, or FOID card," Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a Friday afternoon press conference.

Under Illinois law, no one under 21 can legally own a firearm or apply for a FOID card except with the sponsorship of a parent or legal guardian. State police records show Crimo Jr. chose to sponsor his then-19-year-old son's FOID card application, despite several concerning past incidents.

The first was in April 2019, when Highland Park police responded to a delayed report that Crimo III had attempted suicide a week earlier. No law enforcement action was taken at the time, but in September that year police again responded to a call from the Crimo family. A relative reportedly claimed that Crimo III planned "to kill everyone," and police ended up confiscating 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from his home. The Illinois State Police were later informed of the incident, but said they lacked probable cause to make any arrests.

The ISP, which oversees FOID applications, also said in July that these incidents did not affect Crimo III's successful procurement of a FOID card.

Over the course of 2020 and 2021, Crimo III legally purchased at least five firearms, including the assault rifle he is accused of firing into the crowd at the July 4 parade. Seven people were killed in the mass shooting, with at least 48 more injured. Crimo III's motives for allegedly carrying out the massacre in the affluent, predominantly white Chicago suburb remain unclear, though he reportedly posted racist and anti-Semitic comments online several days before the shooting.

The 21-year-old former YouTube personality now faces 117 felony charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery. He has pleaded not guilty to all of them.

Crimo Jr. himself has previously said he had "not an inkling of warning" his son was planning any violent actions with the firearms he purchased. He has also said he does not regret signing his son's FOID application consent form.

"Do I regret that? Not three years ago, signing a consent form to go through the process," Crimo Jr. told ABC7 Chicago this past July. "That's all it was, so he could go through a process."

On Friday afternoon, Rinehart disputed Crimo Jr.'s earlier characterization of his actions.

"In this case, the system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son," the prosecutor said. "He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway."

Rinehart further reported that Crimo Jr. had turned himself into the police willingly. He faces a bond hearing on Saturday, with his first court hearing scheduled for Feb. 15, 2023.

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