Dad of Highland Park ‘gunman’ says son talked about mass shooting night before his own massacre


Dad of Highland Park ‘gunman’ says son talked about Copenhagen mass shooting the night before carrying out his own massacre on July Fourth

  • Robert ‘Bob’ Crimo Jr. says his son talked about about the Copenhagen mass shooting the night before the Fourth of July parade massacre in Highland Park
  • Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo, 21, was previously labeled a ‘clear and present danger’ by authorities when he threatened to kill himself and his family in 2019
  • The incident led to the confiscation of his collection of knives
  • A few months later, Bob Crimo sponsored his son’s application for a gun permit 
  • On  
  • Now, Bobby Crimo faces seven counts of first degree murder 

The father of the accused Fourth of July parade gunman revealed that his son talked about the mass shooting in Copenhagen the night before launching his own massacre that left seven people dead and dozens injured. 

Robert Crimo Jr. told the New York Post that as they discussed the shooting on Sunday night, his son said: ‘Yeah, that guy is an idiot.’ 

He said his son added, ‘People like that … [commit mass shootings] to amp up the people that want to ban all guns.’

Less than 24 hours later, Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo III, 21, carried out his own massacre at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois

‘I talked to him 13 hours before [Monday’s massacre],’ his father told The Post on Wednesday. ‘That’s why I guess I’m in such shock. … Like, did he have a psychiatric break or something?’

Crimo Jr. and his estranged wife Denise released a statement branding their sons actions a ‘tragedy,’ but Crimo is facing criticism after it emerged on Tuesday that he he helped his son obtain guns just a few months after his knife collection was confiscated. 

Robert Crimo Jr., a onetime mayoral candidate, told the New York Post that his son, the accused Fourth of July gunman, talked about the mass shooting in Copenhagen the night before launching his own massacre

Robert Crimo Jr., a onetime mayoral candidate, told the New York Post that his son, the accused Fourth of July gunman, talked about the mass shooting in Copenhagen the night before launching his own massacre

Robert 'Bobby' Crimo, 21, is expressionless in a mugshot that was released Wednesday

Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo, 21, is expressionless in a mugshot that was released Wednesday

In September 2019, Illinois State Police received a ‘clear and present danger’ report related to Crimo’s family after he threatened to kill himself and his family. They removed knives from the property, but later returned them, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

In an interview with The Post, Crimo said the ordeal was a ‘childish outburst’ and compared his son’s knife collection to a baseball card collection. 

‘You know I used to collect coins and baseball cards,’ the father said. 

Crimo, who was 19 at the time, was not arrested. He was two years under the legal age minimum to apply for the firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card needed to legally obtain a weapon.

But despite the murder-suicide threats, Crimo’s father sponsored him for a FOID card in December 2019, and it was approved a month later, in January 2020, which allowed him to obtain four guns. 

Officials have since said they approved the permit because there was ‘insufficient basis’ to deem Crimo dangerous, with the only record on his file a 2016 ordnance violation for possession of tobacco.

That meant Crimo was legally-able to buy the weapon used in Tuesday’s massacre.

‘He bought everything on his own, and they’re registered to him,’ his father told The Post of his son’s weapons.

 ‘You know, he drove there, he ordered them, he picked them up, they did his background check on each one,’ he added, as he insisted he had ‘zero’ involvement in the massacre.

‘They make me like I groomed him to do all this,’ he said. ‘I’ve been here my whole life, and I’m gonna stay here, hold my head up high, because I didn’t do anything wrong.’

Crimo Jr. has retained Steven Greenberg, the attorney who previously represented R. Kelly in the fallen singing superstar’s federal sex-trafficking case out of Brooklyn.

Crimo’s parents released an official statement on Wednesday: ‘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. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody.’ 

Bob Crimo Jr. and his wife, Denise, said in a brief statement: '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. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody'

The family has also rejected allegations that there were red flags against their son that were a cause for concern

Bob Crimo Jr. and his wife, Denise, said in a statement: ‘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. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody’

Crimo's father Bob Sr. was cornered by police as he arrived at home on Tuesday

Crimo’s father Bob Sr. was cornered by police as he arrived at home on Tuesday 

Crimo Jr. told The Post that his son’s actions were not motivated by hate. He added that a relative of one of his lifelong friends was injured in the shooting.  

‘I’m speechless with that. It just took me by such surprise. It’s horrible,’ he said when asked about the victims.

‘It’s surreal. I mean essentially I lost a son, too. It sucks.’

Crimo told The Post that he will continue to support his son, but says he’s ‘furious’ about what happened.

‘I want a long sentence,’ Crimo added. 

‘That’s life. You know you have consequences for actions. He made a choice. He didn’t have to do that. I think there’s mental illness there, obviously. … I didn’t see a lot of it.’

The aftermath of the scene in Highland Park on Monday after the shooter opened fire on the parade. Chairs and strollers were abandoned by attendees

The aftermath of the scene in Highland Park on Monday after the shooter opened fire on the parade. Chairs and strollers were abandoned by attendees  

The gunman opened fire at 10.14am on Monday, barely 15 minutes into the parade. He then fled the scene and hid throughout the day before eventually being arrested at 6.30pm in Lake Forrest, eight miles north of where the massacre unfolded

The gunman opened fire at 10.14am on Monday, barely 15 minutes into the parade. He then fled the scene and hid throughout the day before eventually being arrested at 6.30pm in Lake Forrest, eight miles north of where the massacre unfolded 

Crimo faces life in prison after being charged by the Illinois State’s Attorney’s office with seven counts of first-degree murder. Lake County State Attorney Eric Reinhart says he also faces ‘dozens’ of other charges related to the people he injured.

Six of the seven people that were killed in the shooting have been named. They are Steve Straus, 88; Katherine Baldstein, 64; Jacki Sondheim, 63; Nicholas Toledo Zaragoza, 78; and husband and wife Irina and Kevin McCarthy, 35 and 37.

The McCarthys leave behind a two-year-old son, Aiden, who was found wandering alone in the aftermath of the shooting.

After the attack Monday, he fled among frightened paradegoers, pretending to be one of the victims, and went to his mother’s house.

Prior to the release of the statement, the family’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told NewsNation in an interview that the family are unaware of any red flags against Crimo.

Bob Crimo Jr. and his estranged wife, Denise, said: 'We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the parade-goers, the community, and our own. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody'

Bob Crimo Jr. and his estranged wife, Denise, said: ‘We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the parade-goers, the community, and our own. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody’

Highland Park shooter Bobby Crimo, right, with his mom Denise (main in red), half-sister Lynette (second left) and younger brother Sam in a 2017 photo

Highland Park shooter Bobby Crimo, right, with his mom Denise (main in red), half-sister Lynette (second left) and younger brother Sam in a 2017 photo 

Greenberg said: ‘I don’t think anyone’s ever aware of any red flags that make them think that their son is gonna go out in their own community and start shooting people.’

He added: ‘Had they seen any signs of it, I think they would have acted. They’re responsible parents.’

Police at first said that Crimo was not known to them but on Tuesday, they revealed he was interviewed twice by authorities in 2019.

The first was in April 2019 a week after he threatened to kill himself. The second was in September 2019, after he threatened to ‘kill everyone’ in his family.

Police recovered 16 knives, a dagger and sword from his home but he was not arrested.

Instead, he was able to turn 21 and buy two assault rifles in Illinois, along with three other types of gun. It remains unclear why the two previous incidents were not flagged when he legally purchased the weapons.

Greenberg told News Nation Now that Crimo’s parents ‘dispute’ the police version of events involving threats that their son allegedly made against them.

In December 2019, the suspect bought a firearm with his father’s help as he was under the age of 21 at the time. Crimo’s father sponsored his son’s application for a Firearm Owners Identification card in Illinois.

The attorney rejected the allegation that the family should have been alarmed at the notion of Crimo having a firearm just months after being interviewed by the police.

Greenberg said: ‘I think the bigger issue here is why is a kid able to get a FOID card and then purchase a military assault weapon? I think that’s a bigger question that we should be asking ourselves. Not whether the family should have sponsored him to get a FOID card when there were no red flags and it was perfectly lawful.’

He echoed the family’s statement on the shooting saying: ‘It’s just a tragedy all the way around. Imagine waking up one day and knowing that your loved one goes to a parade and gets killed. Imagine waking up one day and knowing that your child may never get out of jail.’

Death toll in Highland Park July Fourth shooting rises to seven

The number of people who have died in the Highland Park Fourth of July massacre has risen to seven, as of Wednesday morning. 

The victims include Stephen Straus, 88; Katherine Goldstein, 64; Jacki Sundheim, 63; Nicholas Toledo Zaragoza, 78; Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, and husband and wife Irina and Kevin McCarthy, 35 and 37. 

On Wednesday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office revealed that the seventh victim, Uvaldo, died at Evanston Hospital around 8am. The number of injured now stands at 46, and they range in age from 8 to 85 years old.

Robert Crimo, 21, appeared in Lake County court on Wednesday morning after being charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. He is expected to face a slew of other charges, and is being held without bail.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart told the court that Crimo carried out a ‘calculated and premeditated attack’. He said Crimo confessed to standing on a roof above the parade route, and took aim at people standing across the street, reloading his Smith & Wesson AR-15 rifle three times. 

Police recovered 83 spent casings from the roof. 

Irina and Kevin McCarthy, 35 and 37, were both killed in the massacre. Their two-year-old son, Aiden, was pulled from underneath his father's body

Irina and Kevin McCarthy, 35 and 37, were both killed in the massacre. Their two-year-old son, Aiden, was pulled from underneath his father’s body

Nicolas Toledo, 76, hadn't wanted to attend the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Ill., on Monday, his granddaughter told the New York Times. But because of his disabilities that restricted him to a wheelchair, and his family's insistence of going, he obliged

Jacki Sundheim, a longtime staffer at North Shore Congregation Israel, was shot and killed when a gunman opened fire at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois on Monday

Nicolas Toledo, 76, had not wanted to attend the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Ill., on Monday, his granddaughter because he was in a wheelchair

Irina and Kevin McCarthy, 35 and 37, were the parents of a two-year-old boy, Aiden, who is now orphaned. He was pulled from underneath his father’s body and taken care of by paradegoers. 

Nicolas Toledo, 76 was the first victim to be identified. He was a grandfather visiting his family from Mexico. His family said he was shot in the head as he sat in his wheelchair, his blood splattering on them. 

Toledo had not wanted to attend the parade, his granddaughter told the New York Times. But because of his disabilities that restricted him to a wheelchair, and his family’s insistence of going, he obliged. 

Another victim, Jacki Sundheim was a longtime teacher at the North Shore Congregation Israel synagogue. She is survived by her husband Bruce and daughter Leah, the Times of Israel reported. 

‘There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death,’ the synagogue said in a statement.

Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, who was in hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm and back of the head, died on Wednesday. His wife, Maria, was hit in the head by fragments, and his grandson received a gunshot wound to the arm but is stable.

On Wednesday, Katherine Goldstein’s daughter Cassie described how her mother was shot in the chest and fell down dead in front of her. 

‘He shot her in the chest, and she fell down. And I knew she was dead,’ Cassie told NBC Nightly News. ‘So I just told her that I loved her, but I couldn’t stop because he was still shooting everyone next to me.’ 

Katherine Goldstein, pictured left, was among the people killed in the Highland Park parade mass shooting on July 4

Katherine Goldstein, pictured left, was among the people killed in the Highland Park parade mass shooting on July 4

Steve Straus, 88, was among the seven people who were killed during the Highland Park Fourth of July parade massacre

Eduardo Uvaldo died on Wednesday. Family said he had been shot in the arm and back of the head

Steve Straus, 88, (left) was among the seven people who were killed during the Highland Park Fourth of July parade massacre. Eduardo Uvaldo, 65, (right) died on Wednesday. Family said he had been shot in the arm and back of the head

A local doctor who rushed into the carnage described the shooting victims as being ‘blown up’ by the attacker’s high-powered weapon.

Dr. David Baum, a long-time obstetrician in Highland Park, was attending the parade with his wife and children to watch his two-year-old grandson participate. When the shots rang out and others fled, he ran into the fray to try to help the victims.

In an interview with CNN, Baum described seeing victims with ‘wartime’ and ‘unspeakable’ injuries.

‘The people who were gone were blown up by that gunfire,’ Baum said. ‘The horrific scene of some of those bodies is unspeakable for the average person.’

‘Having been a physician, I’ve seen things in ERs, you know, you do see lots of blood. But the bodies were literally – some of the bodies – there was an evisceration injury from the power of this gun and the bullets.’

‘There was another person who had an unspeakable head injury. Unspeakable,’ he said told CNN. 

‘And the injuries  that I saw – I never served – but those are wartime injuries. Those are what are seen in victims of war, not victims at a parade,’ Baum said. 

Baum said there were at least three doctors, a nurse, and a nurse practitioner who joined him in treating victims. He recalled paramedics covering up victims who they knew were dead at the scene.  

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