HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – Prosecutors charged the suspected gunman in the shooting rampage at a Fourth of July parade in this Chicago suburb with seven counts of first-degree murder Tuesday, hoping to put him behind bars for the rest of his life.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said that, if convicted, Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“These are just the first of many charges that will be filed against Mr. Crimo,” Rinehart said. “I want to emphasize that. There will be more charges. We anticipate dozens of more charges.”
Police said Crimo fired more than 70 shots from a rooftop Monday, killing seven people and wounding nearly 40 more with a legally purchased assault rifle before fleeing. He was captured that evening after an intense manhunt.
►Investigators have interrogated the suspect and reviewed his social media posts but provided no motive for the attack, describing it only as “random.”
►Covelli said the gun – “similar to an AR-15” – was legally purchased by Crimo in the Chicago area.
show. “If that’s what our laws stand for, then I think we have to examine the laws.”
Rotering said that “somebody clearly had a mental breakdown” but that the focus should be on access to guns, not mental health.
“I want us to talk about the fact that there are weapons of war on our streets that people can legally obtain – and then take out dozens of people,” she said. “Our community is never going to recover from its wound.”
Crimo apparently tried to enter a synagogue near the shooting site in April and was turned away, according to Rabbi Yosef Schanowitz, co-director of the North Suburban Lubavitch Chabad – Central Avenue Synagogue.
Schanowitz told USA TODAY on Tuesday that authorities have asked him not to speak about the specifics, but confirmed Crimo was asked to leave his synagogue shortly after entering during Passover services. Like many synagogues, the Central Avenue one is guarded by armed security during services, Schanowitz said.
The synagogue is located along the parade route, and Schanowitz said he rushed outside after the shooting to help protect four Chicago-area teens who were staffing a Jewish information table.
“The first thing I told them was to call their parents,” said Schanowitz, who comforted victims and residents after the attack.
“You hear people who are in disbelief, there are people who are angry, and there are people who are sad and in shock,” he said.
– Trevor Hughes
FBI agents and other law enforcement officers peered into trash cans, looked under picnic blankets and scoured Central Avenue at the site of the shooting searching for evidence. Tori Merel, her husband, Brian, and their 2-year-old son, Miles, placed flowers by the crime scene. Several bouquets lay outside the caution tape and street blocked off by police. Merel, a longtime resident, has lots of friends and family in Highland Park but said none were wounded.
“This is heartbreaking to see this happening here,” said Merel, 38. “We live close by. My son loves firetrucks. I was thinking to myself we should take him to the parade because he loves firetrucks.”
That’s when they started hearing sirens. Word quickly spread that there was a mass shooter.
“If this can happen here, I promise it can happen anywhere,” she said. “This is the last place I would ever imagine something like this happening.”
from Skokie, where the Fourth of July parade was canceled after the shooting here.
“The shooter is still at large,” Bailey said. “So let’s pray for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation.”
Eight people were wounded, some critically, in a shooting in a Minneapolis park during an unofficial Fourth of July celebration. Police said the assault took place about 11:30 p.m. Monday at Boom Island Park.
“We were just watching fireworks and we just heard a whole bunch of shots,” Kaayla Laanaee told WCCO-TV. “I just heard them going over my head to the trees.”
In Philadelphia, two police officers were shot during the city’s Welcome America Party Monday night. Both were treated at a hospital and released early Tuesday.
“I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time.” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “I’ll be happy when I’m not mayor and I can enjoy some stuff.”
There have been 15 shootings in which four or more people have been killed, including the Highland Park attack, across the nation so far in 2022, according to The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University mass killing database.
Pritzker said that “while we celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become a weekly – yes, weekly – American tradition.”
BAND MEMBERS EYEWITNESSES TO TRAGEDY:The band struck up a joyous tune as they traveled in the parade. Then the shooting started.
A suspect was named within hours of the shooting, and Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, 21, became the subject of a massive manhunt. At about 6:30 p.m. local time, Crimo was arrested without incident, police said. Video showed a silver Honda Fit – which authorities said Crimo was driving – stopped at an intersection with its doors open. Police had said Crimo was likely armed and dangerous.
“This individual is believed to have been responsible for what happened,” Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said in announcing Crimo’s arrest. Covelli said a “significant amount of digital evidence” helped lead investigators to Crimo.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said she remembers the man taken into custody hours after Monday’s rampage from her days as a local Cub Scout leader.
“Its one of those things were you step back and you say ‘What happened?’ How did somebody become this angry, this hateful to take it out on innocent people who literally were just having a family day out?”
Crimo was being processed by Highland Park police and could be charged Tuesday, Rotering said.
Contributing: The Associated Press