The suspect in Monday’s mass shooting at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, that left seven dead and injured more than two dozen has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced during a news conference Tuesday evening.
Jennifer Banek, Lake County Coroner, read the list of names during the news conference. The victims are as follows:
- 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein of Highland Park
- 35-year-old Irina McCarthy of Highland Park
- 37-year-old Kevin McCarthy of Highland Park
- 63-year-old Jacquelyn Sundheim of Highland Park
- 88-year-old Stephen Straus of Highland Park
- 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza of Morelos, Mexico
A seventh victim died at a hospital outside of Lake County, Banek said.
A total of 45 people died or were injured during the shooting, said Christopher Covelli, spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.
If Robert E. Crimo III, 21, is convicted, the charges could lead to a mandatory life sentence, Rinehart said. More charges are expected to come, Rinehart said, including attempted murder, aggravated discharge and aggravated battery charges.
“These are just the first of many charges that will be filed against Mr. Crimo, I want to emphasize that,” Rinehart said, adding he anticipates “dozens of more charges centering around each of the victims.”
Crimo has been in police custody since being apprehended Monday evening.
“Tomorrow morning at the Lake County courthouse, we will ask a judge to hold Mr. Crimo without the possibility of bail,” Rinehart said.
Attorney Thomas Durkin confirmed to CNN his representation of Crimo.
Attorney Steve Greenberg has been retained to represent Crimo’s parents, Greenberg confirmed to CNN Tuesday evening in an email. The attorney released a statement on Twitter on behalf of the suspect’s parents.
“We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the paradegoers, the community, and our own. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody,” the statement read.
Police earlier Tuesday identified six of the seven victims killed in the shooting.
The focus of the investigation for the last 36 hours was on the shooter, but has now shifted to “the victims and those left behind,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said during the news conference.
The release of the victims’ names comes after investigators revealed the suspected gunman may have planned the attack “for several weeks” and wore women’s clothing during the shooting to conceal his identity and his facial tattoos, and to help him leave with the crowd that was fleeing in the shooting’s wake, Covelli said.
“He blended right in with everybody else as they were running around, almost as (if) he was an innocent spectator as well,” Covelli said late Tuesday morning at a news conference outside Highland Park police headquarters.
According to CNN, Covelli also revealed Tuesday that Crimo had two prior incidents with law enforcement. In April 2019, an individual contacted authorities about Crimo attempting suicide. Authorities spoke with Crimo and his parents, and the matter was handled by mental health professionals, Covelli said.
Then, in September 2019, a family member reported that Crimo threatened “to kill everyone” and had a collection of knives, Covelli said. Police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from their residence. Highland Park police reported the incident to Illinois State Police.
“At that time there was no probable cause to arrest. There were no complaints that were signed by any of the victims,” Covelli said.
Shortly after the September incident, Crimo legally purchased five firearms — a combination of rifles, a pistol and possibly a shotgun — between 2020 and 2021, according to Covelli. In order to buy firearms in Illinois, individuals need a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. Crimo was under 21, so he was sponsored by his father, state police said in a news release. Crimo’s application was not denied because there was “insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger” at the time.
Investigators still are trying to determine a motive for Monday’s shooting, Covelli said.
Crimo, authorities believe, used a high-powered rifle “similar to an AR-15” to fire more than 70 rounds into a parade crowd from a business’s roof, which he accessed by a fire escape’s ladder, Covelli said.
Sounds of gunshots pierced the sunny parade just after 10 a.m. CT along the town’s Central Avenue, about 25 miles north of Chicago, sending hundreds of attendees scattering in terror — abandoning strollers, chairs and American-flag paraphernalia on the streets. Witnesses described watching in horror as injured people dropped around them.
The carnage punctuates an already bloody American spring and summer — during the past 186 days, more than 300 mass shootings have happened in the US, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit tracking such incidents.
“There are no words for the kind of evil that shows up at a public celebration of freedom, hides on a roof and shoots innocent people with an assault rifle,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday. “It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague.”
Details on what led investigators to believe the shooting was planned for weeks were not immediately made available.
After the shooting, Crimo went to his mother’s house in the area, and then took off in his mother’s car, Covelli said.
After police determined Crimo was a person of interest in the investigation and publicized his information and the car they believed he was in, someone saw the vehicle on US 41 and called 911, Covelli said.
A North Chicago police officer then saw the vehicle, waited for backup, stopped the car Monday evening near Lake Forest, Illinois, and arrested Crimo, authorities said.