The father of the 21-year-old man charged with killing seven people when he allegedly unleashed a hail of bullets on an Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park sponsored his son’s firearm owners identification card two and half years ago despite two instances of police being called to their home over threatening behavior.
Robert E. Crimo III, who was charged with seven counts of murder Tuesday, applied for a FOID card in December 2019 at age 19, Illinois State Police revealed in a press release.
"The subject was under 21 and the application was sponsored by the subject’s father," Illinois State Police said. "Therefore, at the time of FOID application review in January of 2020, there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application."
However, the suspected shooter’s dad, Bob Crimo, 58, knew police had been called to their home twice earlier that same year because his son had threatened to kill himself and the rest of his family.
In April 2019, an individual contacted the Highland Park Police Department a week after learning of Crimo's attempted suicide, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said Tuesday.
It was a delayed report, so police responded to the residence a week later and spoke with Crimo and his parents. Mental health professionals handled the matter with no further law enforcement action.
Months later in September 2019, a family member reported that Crimo had a collection of knives and said he was "going to kill everyone," Covelli told reporters. Police responded to the residence and removed 16 knives, a dagger and sword from his home. At that time, there was no probable cause to arrest, and no complaints were signed by any of the victims, Covelli said.
The Highland Park Police Department did, however, notify Illinois State Police of the incident. At the time, there was no information that he possessed any firearms or any rifles, Covelli said.
"In order to purchase a gun legally in Illinois, one has to possess a FOID card. That’s a process that is solely managed through the state police. I’m not able to speak to that process," Covelli added.
At the time of the September 2019 incident, Crimo did not have a FOID card to revoke or to review, Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Delilah Garcia said. He did not have a pending application either.
Illinois State Police "received a Clear and Present Danger report on the subject from the Highland Park Police Department," the agency said in a press release. "The report was related to threats the subject made against his family. There were no arrests made in the September 2019 incident and no one, including family, was willing to move forward on a complaint nor did they subsequently provide information on threats or mental health that would have allowed law enforcement to take additional action. Additionally, no Firearms Restraining Order was filed, nor any order of protection."
Between June 2020 and September 2021, the younger Crimo also passed four background checks when purchasing firearms, through the Firearms Transaction Inquiry Program (FTIP), which includes the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Illinois State Police said. The only offense included in his criminal history was an ordinance violation in January 2016 for possession of tobacco, Illinois State Police said, adding that the agency has no mental health prohibitor reports submitted by healthcare facilities or personnel regarding Crimo.
The September 2019 Clear and Present Danger report "indicates when police went to the home and asked the individual if he felt like harming himself or others, he responded no," Illinois State Police said.
"Additionally and importantly, the father claimed the knives were his, and they were being stored in the individual’s closet for safekeeping," state police said. "Based upon that information, the Highland Park Police returned the knives to the father later that afternoon."
Highland Park police responded at approximately 10:15 a.m. Monday to a report of an active shooter in the area of Central Avenue and Second Street while an Independence Day parade was in progress.
Police are seeking information on one specific witness. Based on video surveillance, investigators are very certain there is a female witness who saw Crimo drop an object — believed to be the rifle — inside a red blanket behind Ross, a cosmetics location at 625 Central Ave., immediately following the shooting, Covelli said.
"We’ve not been able to identify the witness yet, but we’re asking if you are the witness, and you are hearing this, please call 800-CALL-FBI. Investigators really would like to speak to you about this," Covelli said.
Police have not determined any definitive motive. Crimo had purchased five firearms, including rifles and handguns. Those weapons were seized from his father’s home pursuant to a search warrant Tuesday.
Police know he traveled to the Madison, Wisconsin, area before turning back to Illinois.