Suspect in shooting at 4th of July parade in Chicago faces 7 counts of first-degree murder

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — The man charged on Tuesday with seven counts of murder for opening fire during an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago legally purchased five guns, including two high-powered rifles, although authorities were called to his home twice in 2019 for threats of violence and suicide, police said.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart promised on Tuesday that dozens more charges would be sought. He added that the suspect, if convicted of the murder charges, would receive a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

A Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesperson told a news conference that the suspected shooter, who was arrested Monday night, used a rifle “similar to an AR-15” to spray more than 70 rounds from the top of a commercial building into a crowd. who had gathered for the parade in Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 people on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Police say they were called to the suspect’s home in September 2019 after a family member called to say he was threatening to “kill everyone” there. Task force spokesman Christopher Covelli said police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but said there was no sign he had any firearms there. ‘era.

The suspect legally purchased the rifle used in the attack in Illinois over the past year, Covelli said. In total, according to police, he purchased five firearms, which were recovered by officers from his father’s home.

In April 2019, police also responded to a reported suicide attempt by the suspect, Covelli said.

Illinois State Police, which licenses gun owners, said the shooter applied for a license in December 2019 when he was 19. Her father sponsored her request.

At the time, “there was not a sufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger” and dismiss the claim, state police said in a statement.

The day after the shooting, authorities reported the death of a seventh person. More than three dozen other people were injured in the attack, which Covelli said the suspect had been planning for several weeks.

Investigators who interviewed the suspect and reviewed his social media posts did not determine the motive for the attack or find any indication that he targeted victims by race, religion or other protected status, Covelli said.

Earlier today, FBI agents peered through trash cans and under picnic blankets as they searched for further evidence at the site where the assailant opened fire. The shots were initially mistaken for fireworks before hundreds of revelers fled in terror.

A day later, strollers, lawn chairs and other items left behind by panicked onlookers remained inside a large police perimeter. Outside the police strip, some residents came to collect blankets and chairs they had abandoned.

David Shapiro, 47, said the gunfire quickly turned the parade into “chaos”.

“People didn’t know right away where the shots were coming from, whether the shooter was in front of you or behind you chasing you,” he said Tuesday as he retrieved a stroller and lawn chairs.

The shooting was just the latest to shatter the rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become killing grounds in recent months. This time the bloodshed came as the nation tried to find a reason to celebrate its founding and the ties that still hold it together.

“It certainly hits a lot harder when it’s not just your hometown, but it’s right in front of you,” resident Ron Tuazon said as he and a friend returned to the parade route Monday night to recuperate. chairs, blankets and a child’s bicycle that his family abandoned when the shooting began.

“It’s commonplace now,” Tuazon said. “We don’t blink anymore. Until the laws change, it will be more or less the same.

A police officer arrested Robert E. Crimo III north of the scene of the shooting several hours after police released his photo and warned he was likely armed and dangerous, Highland Park Police Chief Lou said. jogmen.

Law enforcement officials gave his age as 21 or 22. Her father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, ran for mayor in 2019.

After evading initial capture by dressing as a woman and blending in with the fleeing crowd, Crimo traveled to the Madison, Wisconsin area and then returned to Illinois, Covelli said.

The shooting occurred at a location on the parade route where many residents had staked out vantage points earlier in the day.

Among them was Nicolas Toledo, who was visiting his family in Illinois from Mexico. He was shot and died at the scene, his granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, told the Chicago Sun-Times. Jacki Sundheim, lifelong devotee and “beloved” staff member of North Shore Congregation Israel, who announced her death on her website, was also killed.

Toledo’s granddaughter told The Sun-Times that Toledo spent most of her life in Morelos, Mexico. Xochil Toledo said she remembered watching her grandfather, who was in his late 70s, as a group walked past them.

“He was so happy,” she said. “Happy to live in the present moment.”

Xochil Toledo said his father tried to protect his grandfather and was shot in the arm. Her boyfriend was also shot in the back and taken to hospital.

Sundheim had spent decades on the staff of North Shore Congregation Israel, teaching at the congregation’s preschool and later coordinating events, “all with tireless dedication,” the congregation said in its statement announcing its dead.

“Jacki’s hard work, kindness and warmth touched us all,” the statement read.

The Lake County coroner released the names of four other victims: Katherine Goldstein, 64, Irina McCarthy, 35, Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Stephen Straus, 88.

Nine people, ages 14 to 70, remained hospitalized on Tuesday, hospital officials said.

Since the start of the year, the United States has seen 15 shootings in which four or more people were killed, including the one in Highland Park, according to the Associated Press Massacre Database/USA TODAY/ Northeastern University.

Dozens of small-scale shootings in nearby Chicago also left eight people dead and 60 others injured over the July 4 weekend.

In 2013, Highland Park officials approved a ban on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. A local doctor and the Illinois State Rifle Association quickly challenged the liberal suburban position. The legal battle ended at the gates of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 when the justices refused to hear the case and let suburban restrictions remain in place.

Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, posting dozens of videos and songs, some disturbing and violent, on social media.

In an animated video since removed by YouTube, Crimo raps about armies “marching in darkness” as a drawing appears of a man pointing a gun, a body on the ground, and another figure with hands raised in the distance.

Federal agents were reviewing Crimo’s online profiles, and a preliminary review of his internet history indicated he had researched mass murders and uploaded several photos depicting violent acts, including a beheading, said a law enforcement official.

The official could not publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Shapiro, the Highland Park resident who fled the parade with his family, said his 2-year-old son woke up screaming later that night.

“He’s too young to understand what happened,” Shapiro said. “But he knows something bad happened.”

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Foody brought back from Chicago. Thickets reported in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Associated Press writers Don Babwin in Chicago, Mike Householder in Highland Park, and Mike Balsamo in New York also contributed.

Elizabeth J. Harless