Father of Highland Park July 4 alleged mass shooter charged with ‘recklessly’ signing son’s firearm application

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The father of a young man accused of shooting dead seven people at a July 4 parade has been charged with “recklessly” helping his son get the weapon used in the incident.

The alleged shooter, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, has been charged with killing seven people and injuring dozens more, when he is said to have opened fire during the parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park this summer.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Crimo III climbed on top of a building and opened fire with a powerful semi-automatic weapon.

He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

On Friday, his father, Robert Crimo Jr, was charged with seven counts of reckless conduct, as he was accused of being “criminally reckless” when he signed his son’s application for an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification card nearly three years before the massacre.

At the time that he signed the application, his son was aged 19.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Mr Crimo Jr had surrendered to the police and would have a bond hearing on Saturday, in relation to charges connected to the 2019 sponsorship of his son’s firearms licence.

“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenagers should have a weapon,” Mr Rinehart said, according to the Associated Press. “In this case, the system failed when Robert Crimo Jr sponsored his son. He knew what he knew and he signed the form anyway.”

Mr Rinehart did not further discuss what led his office to file the charges this week. Authorities have previously said the accused shooter attempted suicide by machete in April 2019 and in September 2019 was accused by a family member of making threats to “kill everyone”.

Police went to Mr Crimo’s home on both occasions.

Biden mentions Highland Park shooting in Independence Day speech

But records suggest that his father nevertheless sponsored his son’s firearms application, something that was required because he was a young adult at the time.

In a statement, George Gomez, a lawyer for the elder Mr Crimo, called the charges against his client “baseless and unprecedented”.

He said the decision “should alarm every single parent in the United States of America” who could be held criminally liable for the actions of their adult children.

“These charges are absurd and we will fight them every step of the way,” he said.

CNN said that In August, Mr Crimo III pleaded not guilty to 117 criminal charges, including 21 counts of first-degree murder.

He was also arraigned on 48 counts of attempted first-degree murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, one for each victim who was struck by a bullet, bullet fragment or shrapnel, Mr Rinehart said at the time.

It seems Mr Rinehart is following in the footsteps of prosecutors in Michigan, who charged the parents of a young man accused of shooting dead four students after opening fire at Oxford High School.

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty in October to terrorism and murder charges stemming from the November 2021 mass shooting

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are expected to stand trial after pleading not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter connected to the shooting.

Prosecutors allege the parents allowed their son access to a handgun while ignoring warnings that he was on the brink of carrying out.

The parents have argued the charges have no legal justification and they should not be held responsible for their son’s killings.

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