Father of Highland Park mass shooting suspect pleads not guilty to felony charges
Robert Crimo Jr., the father of the man charged in the 2022 Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park, pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to seven counts of reckless conduct, one for each person killed.
Crimo Jr. was charged in December because prosecutors say he helped his son apply for a FOID card in 2019 despite the son's troubled past, which included being the subject of a then recent "clear and present danger" report alleging the young man had threatened to "kill everyone."
If convicted on any of the counts, Crimo Jr. could be sentenced to up to three years in prison or receive probation.
"Parents who are reckless when they help their kids get weapons of war are morally and legally responsible for the harm that follows," Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said after the hearing.
George Gomez, the attorney for Crimo Jr., told reporters Thursday he was a little surprised that a Lake County grand jury decided to indict his client on the charges against him, but when asked, he declined to elaborate why, saying he'd wait to review the evidence in the case.
Gomez acknowledged the validity of a potentially crucial piece of evidence in the case: He told reporters that he believes his client did sign the FOID application, which eventually allowed Robert Crimo III to purchase the weapons prosecutors say he used to carry out the July 4 shooting.
"That is not what is in dispute at this moment," Gomez said.
When asked what is in dispute, Gomez declined to comment.
The case against Crimo Jr. will not go to trial until the lengthy evidence discovery process in his son's case is complete.
In August, the shooting suspect pleaded not guilty to the 117 criminal charges against him. Officials allege he opened fire from a rooftop at spectators on the streets below, killing seven people and injuring more than 50 others, both by gunfire and in the rush for safety that followed.
Lake County Judge George Strickland set the next hearing in the case for April 4 to review how the discovery process is going.