Highland Park parade shooting: Prosecutors get more time to indict suspect’s father
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge for more time to present a case to a grand jury against the father of Highland Park shooting suspect Robert E. Crimo III.
"Unexpected absences in our office" kept prosecutors from seeking an indictment against Robert E. Crimo Jr., Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Facklam said during a short hearing at the Lake County Courthouse.
Crimo Jr. is charged with seven counts of reckless conduct for allowing his son to obtain firearms — one count for each of the people killed in last year’s Highland Park Fourth of July massacre.
Robert E. Crimo Jr. has been free on bail since he was charged in December.
Prosecutors have said Crimo Jr. sponsored his son’s application for a state firearm owner’s identification card in 2019 when his son was underage. In early 2020, the son obtained the FOID card despite having previously threatened to kill himself and his family.
Judge George D. Strickland set the next court date for Feb 16.
MORE: Lawyers for accused Highland Park parade shooter ask for more time to review ‘volume’ of evidence
During the hearing, attorneys told Strickland they have begun the discovery phase and that prosecutors would share all of the evidence they’ve presented in the case against Crimo Jr.’s son.
Facklam said they will need a terabyte hard drive to share the large volume of evidence.
If convicted, Crimo Jr. could get up to three years in prison.
After Thursday’s court hearing, the elder Crimo’s attorney, George Gomez, said the prosecution’s delay in seeking an indictment shows they have a tough case to prove.
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"I think that this case might be an uphill battle for the state at this moment," Gomez told reporters.
Gomez said Crimo Jr. plans to attend his son’s future court hearings, the next of which is scheduled for Tuesday.
In December, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Crimo Jr. "took a reckless and unjustified risk to sign his son’s application for a firearm owner’s identification card."
At that time, Gomez called the charges "baseless and unprecedented."
The younger Crimo has been in custody since he was charged with fatally shooting seven people and wounding dozens of others as they lined the streets in downtown Highland Park at the town’s Fourth of July parade.
Crimo III needed the FOID card to legally purchase the Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifle that authorities say he used on the Fourth of July. Police recovered the rifle near the scene of the shooting and found another rifle in the car that Crimo III was driving when he was arrested later that day.
The two rifles were bought legally in the Chicago area, authorities said.
In September 2019, the Highland Park police department sent officers to the Crimo home after getting a report Crimo III had threatened to "kill everybody." But he and his mother denied that, and Crimo wasn’t arrested.
Police seized knives from the son’s bedroom, but his father said he owned them. The knives were returned.
After the incident, Highland Park police sent a "clear and present danger" report to Illinois State Police, saying Crimo III admitted having a history of drug use and depression.
In July, after Crimo III’s arrest, Illinois State Police Director Brandon Kelly said there was not enough evidence to deny him a FOID card when it was issued.