VP Harris visits Highland Park, calls parade shooting 'senseless'

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Highland Park Tuesday night after a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade killed seven and wounded dozens of others.

Harris called the shooting "senseless" and offered prayers to the community.

"Well to the community of Highland Park, I bring you condolences from President Joe Biden and our country. I'm so sorry for what y'all experienced. And the pain and suffering. This should never have happened. We talk about it being senseless. It is senseless. It is absolutely senseless. I want for you to hold each other tight as a community. That you know you have a whole nation that cares deeply about you, and stands with you. This is an incredibly tight community i know that. And this person will be brought to justice. But it's not gonna undo what happened. And we're here for you. And we stand with you. And of course as we always say because it is true, our prayers are with you," Harris said.

"The president and I and our administration have put all the resources and will continue to put all the resources that the mayor and the chief need in terms of the federal assistance … There's a lot of healing that's gonna have to happen that's both physical and emotional. There's no question this experience is something that is gonna linger in terms of the trauma."

"We gotta be smarter as a country in terms of who has access to what, in particular assault weapons," Harris said. "This can happen anywhere, in any peace-loving community. And we should stand together and speak out about why it's gotta stop."


On Tuesday, authorities announced that a seventh person had died from injuries sustained during Monday’s mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade, and the alleged gunman faces seven counts of first-degree murder with "dozens" more criminal charges to come.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced the charges a press conference staged on a corner not far from where 21-year-old Robert "Bobby" Crimo III allegedly opened fire on paradegoers lining the streets of the north suburb.

Rinehart, a Highland Park resident, said that dozens more counts would follow in days to come. The seven counts announced Tuesday would, if convicted, carry a mandatory sentence of life without parole, Rinehart said.

"These are just the first of many charges that will be filed against Mr. Crimo. Dozens more charges centered around each of the victims," which Rinehart said included those struck by bullets and those that suffered psychological damage.

A total of 45 people were injured or killed in the mass shooting Monday, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Chris Covelli said at a news conference earlier Tuesday. Crimo, who was arrested Monday night some eight hours after the shooting, is expected to appear at a bond hearing Wednesday morning. Rinehart said prosecutors would call for Crimo to be held without bond.

Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek announced the names of the six victims who died at the scene or at Lake County hospitals: Katherine Goldstein, 64, Irina McCarthy, 35, Kevin McCarthy, 37, Jacqueline Sundheim, 63, Stephen Straus, 88, all of Highland Park, and Nicolas Toledo, 78, of Morelos, Mexico.

A seventh victim died Tuesday at a hospital in Cook County, Banek said. The Cook County medical examiner did not immediately return a call from the Chicago Sun-Times. One of the shooting victims was taken Monday to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, but University of Chicago Medical Center did not immediately return calls from The Chicago Sun-Times.

Parents of boy found alone after Highland Park parade shooting were among those killed

Crimo fired more than 70 rounds from a rooftop into the parade before blending into the chaotic crowd and escaping the scene wearing women’s clothing, police said Tuesday. Covelli said investigators were seeking a female witness who may have seen Crimo dropping a red blanket in an alley, and urged the woman to contact authorities. Covelli later said that the blanket held the high-powered rifle used in the shooting.

Crimo, 21, exited the roof of a downtown business by using a fire escape ladder, dropped his AR-15-style rifle and walked to the nearby home of his mother, Covelli said.

Crimo borrowed his mother’s car, which was later pulled over by police Monday night in Lake Forest after a brief chase. Crimo had driven as far as the Madison, Wis., area before he was spotted driving in North Chicago, Covelli said.

There’s no indication Crimo told his mother anything about the attack, Covelli said. Police had visited Crimo’s home twice in 2019, Covelli said. In April 2019, police went to the house in response to a "delayed notification" of a suicide attempt a week earlier by Crimo. In September, police were called by a family member after Crimo "threatened to kill everybody," and police were warned that Crimo had a large collection of knives. Police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, Covelli said, and notified the State Police of the incident.

ISP spokeswoman Master Sgt. Delilah Garcia said that at the time, Crimo did not have a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card or a pending application for one. Covelli said that Crimo had purchased as many as five weapons, including the AR-15-style rifle that was allegedly used in the attack, legally from dealers in the Chicago area in 2020 or 2021. Covelli said Crimo, who would have been under 21 prior to September 2021, had parental permission to get a FOID card while under the legal age to get one on his own.

Crimo is talking to investigators, Covelli said.

"At this point, we have not developed a motive for him," Covelli said.

Investigators "have been in discussions with him. … I’m not going to go into what he may or may not have said," Covelli said.

"There are no indications there was anyone else involved in this attack," Covelli said. "By all indications, it appears Crimo was acting by himself."

Covelli, when asked if Crimo was targeting Highland Park’s Jewish population, said the attack appears to be random and investigators have found no indication he was targeting a specific group.

Highland Park shooting suspect Robert Crimo believed to have been turned away from synagogue

The weapon used in the attack was purchased legally in the Chicago area, he said. ATF agents ran an expedited trace on the weapon, which led them to Crimo, Covelli said.

When he was arrested, Crimo had a second high-powered rifle that he purchased legally from a different Chicago-area store, Covelli said.

"We do believe Crimo preplanned this attack for several weeks," he said.

Covelli said police had previous contact with Crimo, but he wouldn’t offer details.

"There have been some law enforcement contacts, nothing of a violent nature, I can’t get into the specifics of the context," he said.

Other pistols that were legally purchased by Crimo were also recovered by police at the Highwood home where he lived, Covelli said, noting that authorities are working on criminal charges.

"Investigators are still developing leads and very critical information, once we’re at a point where we’re ready to review all that information for charges, we’ll sit down with the state’s attorney and review for criminal charges," Covelli said.

Police were not aware before the shooting of disturbing videos that appear to have been posted by Crimo online, Covelli said.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.