by Brendan O’Brien
(MAINNEWS) – CHICAGO, An Illinois father was arraigned in court on Thursday on charges that he helped his underage son obtain a gun that the latter used to kill seven people at a Fourth of July parade near Chicago, despite signs the younger man was mentally disturbed.
Robert Crimo Jr., wearing a suit, appeared before Judge George Strickland in a Lake County Circuit Court where he was read the seven counts of reckless conduct that were recommended in a grand jury indictment the previous day.
Last year, the parents of a teenager who shot four classmates to death at a Detroit-area high school were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors said the couple, who have pleaded not guilty, had bought their son a gun despite signs he was disturbed.
In the Highland Park, Illinois, case, police say Robert Crimo III opened fire on spectators watching an Independence Day parade on July 4, killing seven people and injuring dozens. He has pleaded not guilty to 117 counts, including 21 charges of first-degree murder.
The elder Crimo, who pleaded not guilty, is accused of helping his son obtain a state firearms license in 2019 when he sponsored his application for a firearm owner identification (FOID) card, despite knowing his son was unfit to own a gun.
The younger Crimo used the FOID card to legally purchase five guns between 2020 and 2021, including the weapon that police said he used to shoot his victims from a sniper’s perch on a rooftop above the parade route. He was 21 at the time of the shooting.
Authorities have previously acknowledged that the accused gunman applied for a FOID card at age 19 in December 2019, three months after police were called to his home over a report that he had threatened to kill family members.
According to law enforcement, police seized a collection of 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but the weapons were returned after the father told authorities they were his.
The alleged threat in September 2019 followed a prior incident in which police responded to an emergency call reporting that the younger Crimo had attempted suicide.
The younger Crimo could not have legally applied for a FOID card in 2019 without a parent or guardian signing for him because he was under 21 at that time.