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Tipsheet

Why the Father of the Highland Park Shooter Just Got Charged

City of Highland Park Police Department via AP

On July 4, Robert Crimo III ventured onto a building’s rooftop in Highland Park, but he wasn’t there to catch a better view of the city’s Independence Day parade. The disturbed young man wanted to cause mayhem and opened fire into the crowd, killing seven people and wounding at least another 45. He escaped the scene dressed as a woman but was arrested by police and later confessed to the killings. 

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Police knew Mr. Crimo with a lengthy history of disturbing mental episodes. His social media posts were equally troubling; this behavior was traced back to middle school. It was at this moment that his parents opted to homeschool their child. Still, police have multiple reports about this house being an epicenter of mayhem.

In 2019, Crimo made enough death and suicide threats that it led to police confiscating his knives. This development brings us to the father, who co-signed a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) for his son, even after his son threatened to kill him. You need a FOID to purchase firearms and ammunition in Illinois and other anti-gun states. Crimo’s weapons were legally purchased. How could Crimo obtain a FOID, given his past mental health problems and death threats against his family? His parents refused to press charges. And that’s why Crimo’s father has been charged with multiple counts of reckless conduct (via NBC News):

The father of the Highland Park, Illinois, parade shooting suspect has been charged in connection with helping his son obtain a firearm and ammunition, officials announced Friday. 

Robert E. Crimo Jr. was charged with seven counts of reckless conduct, one for each person killed in the July Fourth parade attack, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said. 

Prosecutors said Crimo Jr. helped his son, Robert E. Crimo III, purchase the AR-15-style weapon used in the shooting by sponsoring his son’s Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) application. 

The shooting suspect was 21 at the time of the attack but 19 when he bought the semiautomatic rifle and ammunition, they said. Authorities have said he sponsored the application despite previous threats by his son to harm himself and loved ones. 

Under state law, gun purchasers 18 to 20 generally must have a parent endorse the buy, prosecutors said. 

"He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway," Rinehart said at a news conference Friday. "This was criminally reckless."

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It’s about time. There were enough laws on the books to prevent this kid from obtaining weapons, but his parents interfered with that, especially with the perplexing decision to get their son a firearms card after he had just threatened to murder them. What parent thinks their child owning firearms is the way forward after threatening them? Highland Park was a preventable shooting, and if charges were pressed when Crimo threatened to kill his parents in 2019, his FOIA card application would have likely been rejected. The police took his knives, but somehow dad thought buying guns was a rational choice. Throw the book at these people.

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