Dad Helped Highland Park Suspect Buy Gun Even After Threat to ‘Kill Everyone’

Police also returned a collection of knives to the family home after the alleged shooter's father said they belonged to him.
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An empty chairs and bicycles remain near the scene of the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, on Monday, July 5, 2022. Photo by Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The father of the accused Highland Park mass shooter helped him buy a gun months after he threatened to “kill everyone” in his home, police say. 

Chris Covelli, spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said in a press conference Tuesday that a family member reported Robert E. Crimo III’s alleged threat to police in September 2019. 

The 21-year-old is accused of fatally shooting seven people from a rooftop during a July Fourth parade in the Chicago suburb, using a “high-powered rifle” similar to an AR-15. He has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. 

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In a news release, Illinois State Police said local authorities made a “Clear and Present Danger report” about the alleged shooter after the domestic incident. But he wasn’t arrested after the incident because “no one, including family, was willing to move forward on a complaint.” 

After the domestic incident, police took 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword from the family home, Covelli said. But Illinois State Police said local police returned those knives because the alleged gunman’s father said they belonged to him and were in his son’s closet for “safekeeping.” 

Police said when the alleged shooter applied for a gun license in December 2019, at the age of 19, “the application was sponsored by the subject’s father” because he was under 21 years old.  

“At the time of (Firearm Owners Identification) application review in January of 2020, there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the (Firearm Owners Identification) application,” police said. 

Police also said the alleged shooter passed four background checks when purchasing guns throughout 2020 and 2021. Illinois State police also said that when local police talked to the alleged shooter after he was accused of threatening his family, they asked if he felt like hurting himself or others and he said “no.” 

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The alleged shooter’s father, Bob Crimo Jr. lost a mayoral race in Highland Park in 2019. 

Crimo and his wife hired attorney Steve Greenberg, who up until recently represented convicted sex offender and disgraced singer R. Kelly. 

Greenberg tweeted a statement on the couple’s behalf Tuesday.  

“We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the paradegoers, the community, and our own. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody.”  

Greenberg said the alleged shooter’s parents have requested privacy “as they try to sort through this tragedy.” 

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