The parents of Highland Park mass shooting suspect Robert Crimo have offered “thoughts and prayers” after their son was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.
“We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the paradegoers, the community, and our own,” Bob Crimo Sr and Denise Penisa in a statement released through their attorney Steve Greenberg.
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to everybody.”
The parents requested privacy “as they try to sort through” the shooting.
On Tuesday night, authorities revealed police were called to the family home in Highland Park in September 2019 when a then 19-year-old Robert Crimo allegedly threatened to “kill everyone” inside.
Authorities said they removed 16 knives, a sword and a dagger from the home but no charges were pressed and Mr Crimo wasn’t arrested.
Three months later, he was granted his first Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, under his father’s sponsorship, which was approved one month later in January 2020.
Robert Crimo was charged with seven counts of first degree murder on Tuesday night. Prosecutors said he will face many more charges.
He is represented by attorneys Tom Durkin and Josh Herman.
If convicted the 21-year-old will leave a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Mr Crimo is accused of firing off more than 70 rounds at an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago with a high-powered rifle.
The death toll was increased from six to seven after a seventh person died of their injuries on Tuesday.
“In the courtroom, we will seek the maximum sentence against this offender. Not because we seek vengeance, but because justice and the healing process demand it,” said Lake County state’s attorney Eric Rinehart.
Mr Crimo’s Chicago-based attorney Thomas A Durkin said he intends to enter a not guilty plea to all charges.
He said he spoke to Mr Crimo only once for 10 minutes by phone and said he would not be able to comment further.
The attorney said the parents are not concerned about being charged with anything related to their son’s case. “There is zero chance they will be charged with anything criminal,” he said. “They didn’t do anything wrong. They are as stunned and shocked as anyone.”
Chris Covelli, spokesperson for the Lake County major crimes task force said the investigators believe that the shooter was planning the “attack for several weeks”.
The gunman initially evaded capture by dressing as a woman to blend into the fleeing crowd, Mr Covelli said. He went to his mother’s house.