Highland Park shooting: Father of accused shooter pleads guilty to misdemeanor, reckless driving charges in deal with prosecutors

By | November 6, 2023

Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Robert Crimo Jr., father of suspect in deadly Highland Park parade shooting, faces seven counts of reckless driving,


The father of the man accused of killing seven people and injuring dozens more during a July 4, 2022 parade in Illinois has pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor counts of reckless driving in connection of an agreement with prosecutors.

Robert Crimo Jr. was scheduled to face a bench trial Monday on seven counts of reckless driving. As part of the deal reached with prosecutors, he will be on probation for two years, serve 60 days in jail and perform 100 hours of community service. He is expected to report to prison to begin serving his sentence on November 15.

Prosecutors said Crimo Jr. was “criminally reckless” when he signed his son’s application for a Illinois Gun Owners Identification Card almost three years before the Highland Park massacre. The card is required for gun purchases in Illinois and people under 21 need a guardian to sign the application.

The guilty plea could set a precedent for how far prosecutors can go to hold parents of mass shooting suspects legally responsible for their children’s actions. Crimo’s son, Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, who was 21 at the time of the Highland Park shootings, faces first-degree murder charges.

Prosecutors say Crimo III was fired more than 70 rounds with a rifle from a roof during the holiday parade, killing seven people. He has pleaded not guilty to 117 criminal charges, including 21 counts of first degree murder.

Had Crimo Jr.’s reckless driving case gone to trial, “potential key evidence would be released to the public, compromising his son’s fair right to a trial,” attorney George Gomez said.

As part of his plea deal, Crimo Jr. agreed to testify if called at his son’s criminal trial, prosecutors said. The date of this trial has not been set.

“Moreover, it became apparent that as we got closer to trial, the State’s strategy was to pit Mr. Crimo’s families against each other. Mr. Crimo ultimately did not want his family to be any more torn apart in the public eye than it already is,” Gomez said. He said his client doesn’t want the Highland Park community to have to relive the shooting in a public trial.

Crimo Jr. sponsored his son’s gun license application in 2019, months after local police responded to reports of concerning behavior by the younger Crimo, according to police reports .

Nam Y. Huh/Pool/AP/FILE

Robert E. Crimo III, left, appears and his attorneys Lake County Assistant Public Defender Gregory Ticsay, center, speaks with Anton Trizna before Judge Victoria A. Rossetti during a hearing at the courthouse in Lake County in Waukegan, Illinois.

“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon. They are the first line of defense. In this case, that system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart previously said. “He knew what he knew and he signed the form anyway.”

Officers conducted a welfare check on Crimo III in April 2019, after he “attempted suicide with a machete,” a police report states. His parents’ attorney previously disputed details of the incidents described in police reports.

Police returned to the home in September 2019, after a family member reported that Crimo III said he was going to kill everyone, directing the threat toward people in his home, according to a police report . Officers confiscated several knives from Crimo III’s closet. Her my father picked them up at the police station later in the day, according to the report.

Crimo III purchased five guns, including two rifles, after police visited in September, Chris Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, said previously. The high-powered rifle that Crimo III is accused of using to shoot at the parade crowd from a rooftop across the street was purchased legally, police said.

Crimo Jr. is not the first parent of a mass shooting suspect to face charges in connection with their children’s alleged actions.

Parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley faces four counts of manslaughter for buying their son the gun that prosecutors say he used to kill four of his classmates in the mass shooting. Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism in connection with the shooting.

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, said they should not be held responsible for their son’s actions. In a written opinion filed in March, a panel of Michigan appeals court judges said the Crumbleys were a unique case.

“We share defendants’ concerns that this ruling may be applied in the future to parents whose circumstances, with respect to their child’s intentional conduct, are not as closely related and/or whose “The warning signs and evidence were not as substantial as they are here,” the panel wrote.

Lawyers representing survivors and a family member of one of the victims who died in the Racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York grocery store last year, they sued the shooter’s parents. They contend that the parents of Payton S. Gendron, then 18, did not intervene or limit their son’s access to guns, even though they knew of his mental health problems .

Gendron was life sentence in February for killing 10 people in a supermarket.

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