Alleged Highland Park shooter’s father pleads not guilty to reckless conduct charges – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

Robert Crimo Jr., the father of alleged Highland Park mass shooter Robert Crimo III, pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony charges alleging he acted recklessly by helping his son obtain a license to buy guns despite knowing the then 19-year-old had previously threatened violence.

Crimo Jr. remained quiet during the arraignment as Judge George Strickland read the reckless conduct charges brought against him after a Wednesday grand jury indictment. He slightly shook his head at one point and the judge read the name of each person killed in the Fourth of July parade massacre.

The charges allege Crimo Jr. signed an application that allowed his son to obtain a firearm owner’s identification card he otherwise would not have been able to legally secure, “in such a time that (Crimo Jr.) was aware that (his) son had expressed violent ideations.”

Each count carries a maximum three-year prison term. Police arrested Crimo Jr. in December after Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart brought reckless conduct charges against him. He was later released after posting a $50,000 bond.

Rinehart said his office had shared 74 pages of evidence with Crimo Jr.’s attorney, George Gomez, during the brief Thursday morning proceeding. The next court date was set for April 4.

Crimo Jr. ducked behind a corner as his lawyer spoke to reporters in the courthouse lobby after the proceeding.

“We’re a little surprised of the indictment,” Gomez said. “I do believe that at the end of the day that Mr. Crimo will be vindicated of these charges. We will turn every stone and defend him every step of the way.”

Robert Crimo Jr., right, and his attorney George Gomez appear before Judge George Strickland at the Lake County Courthouse, on Feb. 16, 2023, in Waukegan.

Gomez declined to elaborate on why he was surprised by the charges, but acknowledged that Crimo Jr. did sign Crimo III’s FOID application. The 58-year-old still supports his son, Gomez added.

“Just like every other father for their son, still 100% supportive,” he said.

Gomez previously said Crimo Jr. wasn’t aware his son had been a danger to anyone when he sponsored the FOID card, and has blasted the charges as baseless and unprecedented.

“This decision should alarm every single parent in the United States of America who, according to the Lake County state’s attorney, knows exactly what is going on with their 19-year-old adult children and can be held criminally liable for actions taken nearly three years later. These charges are absurd, and we will fight them every step of the way,” he previously said.

Crimo Jr. was well known in the community when his son allegedly attacked paradegoers. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2019, and long owned a now-shuttered deli.

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Public records reviewed by the Tribune in the days following the July shooting showed repeated police involvement at the family’s home over the years, especially between Crimo Jr. and the mother of Crimo III.

In September 2019, a few months before Crimo III applied for a gun permit in December, police conducted a wellness check following a report that the 19-year-old had “made a threat in the household” stating, “he was going to kill everybody.” Police then removed knives from Crimo III’s possession and filed a “Clear and Present Danger” report to the Illinois State Police.

Steve Greenberg, an attorney who briefly represented the defendant’s parents, told the Tribune shortly after the shooting that Crimo Jr. was unaware of the 2019 threats when he sponsored his son’s FOID card application months later.

Crimo Jr. was at least aware that police had confiscated weapons that were in his son’s room, according to the police report. The father later collected the weapons from police, including a 24-inch samurai sword, 16 knives and a dagger.

Medical professionals had also responded earlier in the year when Crimo III attempted suicide with a machete, according to a police report.

“Parents who are reckless when they help their kids get weapons of war are morally and legally responsible for the harm that follows,” Rinehart said.

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