The father of the Highland Park gunman could face criminal charges, Illinois officials have said, after he sponsored his son’s application to buy guns despite the police being called due to the teenager threatening to ‘kill everyone’.
Bob Crimo’s son Robert, now 21, bought five weapons in 2020 and 2021, including the semiautomatic rifle he allegedly used to fire more than 70 rounds into the crowd during the July 4 parade, killing seven.
Authorities were called to the home of the Highland Park shooting suspect’s parents numerous times between 2010 and 2014, according to police records released on Friday.
Robert was 19 when he applied for the firearm owner’s identification card (FOID). Under Illinois law, a person over 18 but under 21 can only be granted the card with parental consent. The parent agrees to be held liable for ‘any damages’ resulting from the applicant’s use of firearms.
Bob Crimo signed the form in December 2019, despite the police being called to their home twice that year because Robert was making threats. In April 2019, he threatened to kill himself, and in September 2019 he vowed to ‘kill everyone’ – leading the state police to classify him as a ‘clear and present danger’.
Three months later, Bob Crimo signed the FOID forms.
Bob Crimo, the father of the Highland Park gunman Robert Crimo, signed forms authorizing his deeply troubled son’s purchase of firearms, despite him being only 19 at the time
Robert Crimo, now 22, shot and killed seven people on July 4 in Highland Park in a well-planned massacre
Robert Crimo used a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 to carry out his deadly July 4 attack
‘There’s probably going to be civil litigation,’ said Brendan Kelly, state police director.
There is ongoing criminal prosecution and criminal investigation.
‘Issues of culpability, liability, who may have responsibility in certain circumstances, are all part and parcel of that process.’
Robert Crimo, 21, is accused of murdering seven people at a July 4 parade
He would not confirm whether Bob Crimo would be criminally charged.
“Making a conclusionary statement, the Illinois State Police, weighing in on that, is not appropriate,” he said, adding that the matter would ultimately be decided in court.
Eric Rinehart told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday night that Bob Crimo’s filing of the application itself would not necessarily result in criminal charges, but they were ‘exploring’ other potential charges related to ‘responsibility to the community’.
Stephen Blandin, an attorney who has represented many victims’ families, said there was a case to be made against Bob Crimo.
‘If the state doesn’t press charges, then they’re admitting that the whole statute is a sham,’ he said.
Blandin cautioned that he believes prosecutors may be hesitant to file charges since gun issues are highly political, CBS Chicago reported.
Bob Crimo and his wife Denise Pesina hired an attorney who once represented R. Kelly, Steve Greenberg, earlier this week.
He on Wednesday said the parents were devastated, but insisted they were innocent.
This is not the parent’s fault. This is the fault of the young man who was allowed by the system that’s out there to buy military-grade assault rifles,’ he said.
Asked about the September 2019 incident, Greenberg said: ‘The police investigated. They did not perceive there was any great threat because they returned these knives to the family just a few hours later.
And there were no other incidents. So we’re three years later now.’
Bob Crimo himself has defended his actions, and said the 2019 incident was a ‘childish outburst’.
Crimo’s father Bob Sr. was cornered by the police as he arrived at home on Tuesday
Police interviewing the father of the Highland Park shooter on Tuesday
Bob Crimo Sr. arriving home on Tuesday, talking on the phone
Crimo’s social media was full of clips glorifying violence and idolizing school shooters
Crimo is believed to have fled the scene after the massacre by donning women’s clothing (above)
Crimo was seen on Monday afternoon being arrested by the police in Highland Park
‘He bought everything on his own, and they’re registered to him,’ he told The New York Post.
‘You know, he drove there, he ordered them, he picked them up, they did his background check on each one.’
He said he was ‘furious’ at his son’s actions.
“I want a long sentence,” he said.
He made a choice. He didn’t have to do that. I think there’s mental illness there, obviously. I didn’t see a lot of it.’
On Friday, Paul Crimo, Bob Crimo’s brother, defended his brother and blamed Illinois authorities for letting his nephew have a gun.
“I support him 100% — I think he did the right thing,” Paul Crimo told CNN.
The gunman opened fire at 10.14am on Monday, barely 15 minutes into the parade. He then fled the scene and hid throughout the day before eventually being arrested at 6.30pm in Lake Forrest, eight miles north of where the massacre unfolded.
Paul Crimo admitted that he was ‘sure’ that his brother ‘knew about’ his son having been investigated for threatening to ‘kill everyone’ in 2019.
The teenager told the police at the time he was depressed and a regular drug user.
Police confiscated 16 knives, a 12-inch dagger and a 24-inch Samurai-style sword – but the father reclaimed them hours later.
Asked why his brother signed the FOID form, Paul Crimo said: ‘if it was me, no, I wouldn’t… I probably wouldn’t have signed it.’
He continued: ‘I think the law’s gotta be tightened up.
‘If somebody has a life threat, if somebody’s suicidal or if somebody’s under depression.
‘The state should see that and not give the person a FOID card.’
He said how his nephew ‘passed four background checks,’ calling it proof he ‘seemed fit’ to be a gun owner.
‘If he had seemed unfit then he would never have gotten the FOID card,’ he said, repeating that ‘the laws need to be tougher.’
Highland Park shooter Bobby Crimo, right, with his mom Denise (main in red), half-sister Lynette (second left) and younger brother Sam in a 2017 photo
Bobby Crimo, 21, (right) with his little brother Sam (left). The pair attended Lincoln Elementary School and between 2008 and 2014, they attended the LEAP afterschool program. They were routinely the last kids to be picked up, according to coaches who taught them
Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office disclosed the prior incidents at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
In the April 2019 incident, an individual contacted the Highland Park department a week after learning of his attempted suicide. It was a delayed report.
They responded to the residence, spoke to him, his parents and the matter was being handled by the mental health profession. There was no law enforcement action to be taken.
In September 2019, a family member reported that he said he was going to ‘kill everyone’ and that he had a collection of knives. They responded and took 16 knives and a dagger from his home.
There was no probable cause to arrest and no complaints assigned by the victims. They notified the Illinois State Police.’