Highland Park, IL – The father of the 21-year-old gunman who killed seven people and wounded at least 35 more in a shooting spree at the Highland Park July 4 parade said he doesn’t regret helping his son get the license he needed to buy the gun he used in his rampage.
Robert Crimo, Jr., said the Independence Day massacre perpetrated by his son was a total nightmare and said the family of the gunman was shocked because they believed he was raised with good morals, WLS reported.
Crimo Jr. said he still had no regrets about having sponsored his son’s applications for the Illinois Firearms Identification (FOID) card that allowed then-19-year-old Robert “Bobby” Crimo III to purchase the Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifle he used to fire at paradegoers from a nearby rooftop.
The father claimed he was following the law and that the state had checks in place to make sure guns don’t end up in the hands of people who should not have them, WLS reported.
Crimo Jr. said he spent time with his son the night before his killing spree.
“Thirteen hours earlier, I spent almost an hour with them sitting in the yard talking about the planet, the atmosphere and nothing,” he recalled. “Great mood. I’m just shocked.”
“I think, three days before the fourth, my wife had asked him, ‘hey, do you have any plans for the fourth?’ And he simply said, ‘no,’” the gunman’s father said.
He downplayed his role in helping his son purchase the weapons that would ultimately be used in the July 4 killing spree even though the then-19 year old had previously threatened to kill himself and his family.
The Illinois State Police (ISP) said on Tuesday night that the agency had received a “clear and present danger” report Crimo III in 2019 after the future mass killer threatened his family, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Lake County officials said that Highland Park police visited the Crimo home twice in 2019 after the then-teen had made threats.
But when police asked if he wanted to hurt himself or anyone else, Crimo III told them “no,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Police found a large cache of knives in Crimo III’s closet and confiscated them, but his father claimed the knives actually belonged to him and Highland Park police returned them to Crimo Jr. later the same day.
Authorities said no guns were removed from the home during either of the 2019 incidents, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The state police said that on those occasions, no one in the family wanted to press charges or provided officers with information about the threats he had allegedly made, nor did they give authorities anything else to work with to “take further action” against Crimo III.
ISP said that the future killer, who was 19 at the time, didn’t have the FOID card at the time of the 2019 incidents, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
State law requires a resident to be at least 21 years old to apply for the license to purchase a gun in Illinois unless the individual is sponsored by a parent or guardian.
ISP said that the future mass shooter’s father, sponsored his son for his early application to obtain an FOID card in December of 2019, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The state police issued the FOID card to the future mass killer in January of 2020 because “there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger to deny the FOID application.”
At the time, the only offense on the future gunman’s record was a 2016 ordinance violation for possession of tobacco, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
ISP said Crimo III passed four separate background checks in order to buy guns on June 9, 2020, July 18, 2020, July 31, 2020, and Sept. 20, 2021.
ISP Director Brandon Kelly said that despite the “clear and present danger” report that Highland Park police sent after the incidents, and the fact that the teen admitted to using drugs and “to being depressed when statements were made,” there was “insufficient basis” to deny him the FOID card, WFLD reported.
Director Kelly pointed out that the future gunman wasn’t the subject of a domestic violence order, nor was there a court order that precluded him from owning a gun.
The official refused to speculate on what “was going through the mind” of the 58-year-old Crimo Jr. when he signed the form to give his disturbed teen son consent to apply for the FOID card, WFLD reported.
“I can only speak from the perspective as a citizen and as a father that we all have a duty, we all have an obligation, we all have to be mindful of the safety of others, and sometimes that requires some difficult things as a parent,” Director Kelly said.
ISP has launched an investigation into whether Crimo Jr. should face criminal charges for signing the consent form to allow his son to obtain the FOID, WLS reported.