HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Despite what many believe were past red flags, authorities said the suspected Highland Park parade shooter was able to legally obtain multiple firearms.
As disturbing details emerge about the suspected shooter, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, lawmakers and mental health experts are raising concern.
Newly released police documents show Highland Park police made several calls to the accused parade shooter’s home over the years. Two specifically are relevant.
In September 2019, police were notified he had attempted suicide. The second was after Crimo III had threatened to “kill everyone” in his family. Officers came to his home and confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword.
The father of Crimo III ultimately claimed the knives, dagger and sword were his and told police they were being kept in his son’s bedroom for “safekeeping,” according to the police report.
No criminal charges were filed, but Highland Park police labeled him a “clear and present danger.”
In December 2019, Crimo III applied for a firearm owner’s identification card (FOID), but because he was under 21 — he needed parental consent and his father sponsored the application.
On Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) spoke out on the state’s “red flag” gun laws, which allow loved ones to ask a court to temporarily remove guns and FOID cards from people deemed “violent or threatening.”
“That makes no sense whatsoever. that is just an invitation to disaster,” he said. “24 the police are doing their job but to see that through in a conclusion that results in some action or reaction is very difficult in this circumstance what I’ve heard from law enforcement is ‘we didn’t have a complaining witness, we didn’t have a victim, we had a concern’.”
In order for a judge to approve a firearm restraining order in Illinois, a petitioner has to appear at a hearing and show “clear and convincing evidence that an individual is a danger to themselves or others.”
The “red flag” laws allow for a temporary removal of weapons and FOID cards for 14 days, or up to six months. A judge can extend that order.
The laws are also triggered if someone is committed to a psychiatric hospital, which mental health experts say can be a difficult process.
“You have to actually become hospitalized, which is incredibly complicated there are barriers by way of insurance providers, and the assessment how the person is presenting at the time,” NAMI Chicago’s Alexa James said. “For that to even happen, then it needs to be caught when someone is doing a background check and trying to access a firearm.”
Authorities said Crimo III passed four federal background checks and legally bought five firearms over the past two years, including a semi-automatic rifle used in Monday’s shooting.
Another red flag was painted in black and yellow — a gun-wielding character painted on the back of the suspect’s home with a smiley face, similar to one seen on his clothing. Then there were the violence-laced music videos the suspect posted online long before the shooting.
Law enforcement said no one reported them.
Some lawmakers feel Crimo III’s father should face consequences.
His parents have retained the law office of Steven Greenberg, who is R. Kelly’s attorney in his Chicago case.
Crimo III’s mother, Denise, was seen outside her home Monday, appearing to yell at police as they searched for her son. New documents released Wednesday reveal police had been called to her address nearly two dozen times since 2009 – mostly for domestic incidents with Crimo’s parents often calling the police on each other for drunkenness or verbal abuse.
But the documents also show Crimo’s mother was criminally charged in 2002 with endangering the life and/or health of a child.
Read Illinois State Police’s full explanation of their handling of his FOID card below.
“In the ongoing investigation into the shooting in Highland Park on July 4, 2022, the Illinois State Police (ISP) continue to provide information to the public.
Clear and Present Danger reporting was established by Illinois law in 1990 and expanded incrementally to include school administrators and law enforcement. This law is distinct from the Firearms Restraining Order which became law in 2019. Clear and Present Danger is a mechanism used by the ISP to revoke or deny a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID). On the other hand, the Firearms Restraining Order is a court ordered restriction on firearms possession. Clear and Present Danger status is only one of many factors that can result in the revocation and denial of a FOID card. Other factors can include criminal records, mental health prohibitors, and other orders of protection.
Upon receipt of a Clear and Present danger report submitted to ISP, officers determine if the subject of the report has a FOID card or a pending FOID application and review all information submitted by the local reporting police department.
For a Clear and Present Danger determination, the legal standard for review ISP must meet is a preponderance of the evidence, which is a higher legal burden than probable cause. Granting a Firearms Restraining Order has an even higher burden of proof requiring “clear and convincing” evidence.
If the reviewing officer determines there is sufficient evidence to establish a clear and present danger posed by the subject of the report, then the subject’s FOID is revoked, or a pending FOID application is denied. If there is insufficient evidence, the status of the FOID or pending application is unaffected.
For the individual charged in the Highland Park shooting, in September 2019 ISP officers confirmed the individual did not have a FOID card or pending application. According to the report submitted, the threat of violence allegedly made by the individual was reported to Highland Park Police second hand. When police went to the house, both the individual and his mother disputed the threat of violence. The individual told police he did not feel like hurting himself or others and was offered mental health resources. Additionally, the report indicated the knives did not belong to the individual and were ultimately turned over to the father who claimed they were his. As stated by Highland Park Police, there was no probable cause to arrest. Upon review of the report at that time, the reviewing officer concluded there was insufficient information for a Clear and Present Danger determination.
In December of 2019 the individual applied for a FOID card. The application included a parental legal guardian affidavit signed by the father of the individual applying.
Illinois law dictates that the Illinois State Police shall issue a FOID card to an applicant who meets the statutory requirements and who has no firearms prohibitor. At the time of FOID application approval for the individual in question there was no new information to establish a clear and present danger, no arrests, no prohibiting criminal records, no mental health prohibitors, no orders of protection, no other disqualifying prohibitors and no Firearms Restraining Order. The available evidence would have been insufficient for law enforcement to seek a Firearms Restraining Order from a court.“