The father of a man accused of killing seven people during a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb last year has pleaded guilty to reckless conduct charges as part of a plea deal.
Robert Crimo Jr. pleaded guilty on Monday to seven counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct after helping his then-teenage son, Robert Crimo III, obtain a license to buy firearms prior to the 2022 mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Each count represents one of the seven people killed.
The plea deal reduces the elder Crimo’s charges from felony counts, for which the 59-year-old would have faced up to three years behind bars.
He’ll instead serve 60 days in a county jail, two years probation and surrender his Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card and any firearms or ammunition. He is also prohibited from sponsoring any minors for a FOID card in the future, according to the terms of the plea agreement. His jail sentence is scheduled to start next week.
Robert E. Crimo Jr. leaves the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Illinois, on Monday after a bench trial.
In 2019, Crimo Jr. sponsored his then 19-year-old son’s application for a FOID, which is required in the state of Illinois to legally possess firearms or ammunition. Someone under the age of 21 can only apply for a FOID card through a sponsor who is either a parent or legal guardian.
Rinehart’s office has said that Crimo Jr. ignored obvious warnings prior to sponsoring his son’s FOID, including an incident in which a family member contacted authorities to report that the teenager had threatened to “kill everyone.”
Police said they responded to that call by removing 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo III’s home. No further action was taken, such as an arrest or order of protection, that would have disqualified him at that point from purchasing a gun, authorities said.
Robert E. Crimo III, seen in court in September, has pleaded not guilty to 117 charges in the shooting deaths of seven people and wounding of 48 others.
Crimo III later legally purchased several new weapons, including the AR-15-type rifle used in the shooting, authorities said.
“Crimo Jr. put aside the concerns he had about his son and sponsored his son’s ability to obtain a weapon that would endanger people’s lives,” the office of Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a statement Monday.
“This wasn’t a fishing license. This wasn’t a permission slip to go to the museum ― this was a permission slip for his son to buy an assault rifle,” said Rinehart in a statement. “And when he signed this permission slip – he knew exactly how dangerous it was for this 19-year-old to have a weapon.”
Crimo Jr.’s defense attorney did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Mourners left flowers and signs at a memorial to the seven people killed and dozens of others injured in the Highland Park shooting on July 4, 2022.
In an interview with ABC News days after the attack, Crimo Jr. said he had “not an inkling (or) warning” that the shooting was going to happen.
“I am just as shocked,” he said while calling the threats reported to police as “taken out of context.”
“It’s like just a child’s outburst, whatever he was upset about, and I think his sister called the police ― I wasn’t living there,” he said.
Crimo III has pleaded not guilty to 21 first-degree murder counts — three for each person killed — 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 11.