Rinehart would not speak further about what prompted his office to file the charges this week. Authorities previously said the accused shooter, Robert Crimo III, attempted suicide with a machete in April 2019 and in September 2019 he was accused by a relative of threatening to “kill everyone.”
Both reports came months before Crimo Jr. sponsored his son’s application in December 2019.
Chicago area attorney George M. Gomez said by phone Friday that he was representing Robert Crimo Jr. in the recently announced criminal case. He declined to answer questions, but emailed a statement that described the charges as “unfounded and unprecedented.”
“This decision should alarm all single parents in the United States of America who, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney, know exactly what is going on with their 19-year-old adult children and may be criminally liable for actions taken. almost three years later.” Gomez’s statement said. “These charges are absurd and we will fight them every step of the way.
Gomez said Crimo Jr. “continues to pity and feel terrible for the individuals and families who have been injured and lost loved ones,” but the lawyer called the charges “politically motivated and a distraction from the real change that needs to happen in this country.” ”. ”
A grand jury in July indicted Robert Crimo III on 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated assault, representing the seven people killed and dozens injured in the attack on a beloved Highland Park holiday event.
Until Friday, Rinehart had refused to discuss whether the man’s parents could face charges related to the murders.
Legal experts have said that it is rare for the parent or guardian of an accused shooter to face charges — in part because it is difficult to prove such charges.
In one notable exception, a Michigan prosecutor last year brought manslaughter charges against the parents of a teenager accused of fatally shooting four students at his high school. A The January trial date in that case has been pushed back. while the state appeals court considers a parental appeal.
Authorities previously said Illinois State Police reviewed Crimo III’s December 2019 gun license application and found no reason to deny it because he had no arrests, no criminal record, serious mental health issues, protective orders and no other behavior that would disqualify you. to the.
But after the parade shooting, public records showed Crimo III attempted suicide with a machete in April 2019, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press that noted a “history of attempts.”
In September 2019, police received a report from a relative that Crimo III had a collection of knives and had threatened to “kill everyone”.
Both Crimo III and her mother questioned the threat of violence at the time. Police have said that Father Robert Crimo Jr. later told investigators that the knives belonged to him and authorities returned them to him.
Robert Crimo Jr. has appeared at several of his son’s pretrial hearings this year, nodding as his son entered the courtroom in chains and flanked by guards. The father is a longtime Highland Park resident and a familiar face in the city, where he once ran for mayor and was well known for operating convenience stores.
In media interviews after the shooting, Robert Crimo Jr. had said he did not expect to face charges and did not believe he had done anything wrong by helping his son obtain a gun license through the state-established process.