Father of Fourth of July Highland Park, IL Shooter Arrested on Felony Charges

City of Highland Park Police Department via AP

The father of the Highland Park, Ill., shooter who killed seven people and wounded dozens more on Independence Day is being charged with felony reckless conduct for signing his son’s application for an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification card nearly three years before the massacre.


Robert Crimo, Jr., is charged with seven counts of felony reckless conduct. His 22-year-old son, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, is charged with the murders and numerous attempted murder charges for his shooting spree.

Holding parents responsible for the murderous actions of their children is an untested legal theory.


The elder Crimo, who has previously denied any responsibility over the mass shooting, agreed to sponsor his son’s gun license in 2019, months after local police received a report the son had said “he was going to kill everyone” in his family, police said back in July.

Officers also had checked on the younger Crimo earlier that year after he had “attempted to commit suicide by machete,” according to a police report. An attorney for the parents said in July [they] disputed details of the incidents in the police reports.

“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon. They are the first line of defense. In this case, that system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son,” Rinehart said Friday. ” He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway.”


Crimo Jr.’s attorney, George Gomez, called the charges “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,” Gomez said in a statement. “These charges are absurd and we will fight them every step of the way.”

It really is a breathtaking overreach — charging a parent with a felony three years after the conduct that only proved to be “felonious” when his son went beyond drawing vivid images of death and shot up a parade.

Related: GLAAD’s Club Q Shooting Response Calls for Silencing Critics

This is not a unique situation. In Michigan, the parents of Ethan Crumbley are going on trial after pleading not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter related to their son’s mass shooting. That case is far different, since the parents of Ethan Crumbley knew of their son’s mental distress yet left a gun in an unlocked container. A few hours later, Ethan killed four students.


But the elder Crimo is being charged for signing an application for an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification three years before the crime. He called the charges “politically motivated.”

Indeed, the Lake County prosecutor, Eric Rinehart, is “advocating for some of the most restrictive gun control policies in the nation,” according to the Lake County Gazette.  Since 2020, Rinehart has been pushing for an “assault weapons” ban and has created a “gun violence interruptor” program that involves far fewer guns in circulation. The younger Crimo makes Rinehart look bad politically.

The first time the defense in either case submits a motion to dismiss, it should be done in record time.



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