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Robert Crimo’s father has ‘no regret’ over helping son get guns and calls 2019 death threat a ‘child outburst’

The Independent logo The Independent 7/07/2022 Johanna Chisholm
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The father of the alleged Highland Park parade shooter, Robert Crimo Jr, told ABC News in one of the man’s first public interviews that he doesn’t regret sponsoring his son’s FOID card back in 2019, which later enabled the accused gunman to purchase firearms the following year.

“I filled out the consent form to allow my son to go through the process that the Illinois State Police have in place for an individual to obtain a FOID card,” Mr Crimo explained in an interview with the news outlet. “They do background checks. Whatever that entails, I’m not exactly sure. And either you’re approved or denied, and he was approved.”

It was revealed this week that the suspected gunman’s father sponsored his son’s Firearm Owners Identification card, which is required in the state of Illinois to legally possess firearms or ammunition, in December 2019, just two months after police had been called to the family home after the then-19-year-old had made threats to “kill everyone” inside.

Illinois State Police have announced that there will a criminal investigation opened up to probe the father’s culpability because he sponsored his son’s application for a firearm owner identification card in 2019.

“Do I regret that? No, not three years ago -- signing a consent form to go through the process … that’s all it was,” said Mr Crimo, noting that he wasn’t concerned about potential legal consequences.

The parents of the accused shooter have retained high-profile attorney Steve Greenberg, whose previous clients have included figures like R Kelly.

Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo Jr, the father of the alleged Highland Park shooter, says that he doesn’t regret sponsoring his son’s FOID card when he was 19 years old (Facebook/Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo Jr) © Provided by The Independent Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo Jr, the father of the alleged Highland Park shooter, says that he doesn’t regret sponsoring his son’s FOID card when he was 19 years old (Facebook/Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo Jr)

“Had I purchased guns throughout the years and given them to him in my name, that’s a different story. But he went through that whole process himself.”

Mr Crimo noted during the interview that his son had both purchased and registered the weapons on his own with his own funds.

Earlier this week, authorities said that the suspected shooter, who has since been charged with seven counts of first degree murder and is being detained without bail, was not known to law enforcement prior to the violent rampage carried out along the July 4th parade route.

That information was later recanted, after it was learned that the 21-year-old had Highland Park officers called to his family home twice in 2019.

In the first incident, police responded to a call that the then-19-year-old was threatening to kill himself. The second time police made contact with Mr Crimo was in September 2019, just two months before his father sponsored his FOID card.

Officers were called to the home because he had threatened to “kill everyone”. They later determined that he was a “clear and present danger” and would go on to confiscate 16 knives, a dagger and a Samurai-style sword from the home, according to a redacted report released by the Illinois State Police.

When asked by ABC about those specific instances, or whether there were other occasions when the family potentially viewed the accused gunman as a threat, Mr Crimo claimed that those run-ins with law enforcement had been “taken out of context” and his son had been exhibiting something more akin to teen angst rather than a physical danger.

“Making threats to the family … I think [that was] taken out of context,” Mr Crimo told the news agency describing the 2019 incident. “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.”

At the time, police didn’t open a criminal investigation into the incident.

Mr Crimo’s FOID card renewed in 2021, which was done this time without the assistance of his father since the by then he was 21, the legal age to apply for the permit.

Lake County State Attorney Eric Rineheart has stated that Mr Crimo will face dozens more charges in the days to come, in addition to the seven counts of first-degree murder. During his first bond hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors revealed that the 21-year-old had confessed shortly after getting arrested on Monday night to carrying out the bloody assault on paradegoers earlier that day.

He is being held without bond and his next hearing is scheduled for 28 July.

“This isn’t Bobby,” Mr Crimo said after learning of his son’s actions. “I guess that’s why it’s so hard to wrap yourself around it. It doesn’t add up.”

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