Highland Park shooter Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III, 21, once tried to commit suicide and threatened to kill everyone in his family but wasn't arrested, authorities said on Tuesday. Police said that Robert Crimo was only interrogated by the cops and wasn't arrested although they found that he had hoarded multiple knives, pistols and guns in his home.
This comes as Robert Crimo was charged by the Illinois State's Attorney's office on Tuesday with seven counts of first-degree murder. The charges were announced by the Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart at a press conference, a day after the July 4 parade shooting, which left seven people dead and more than 40 wounded.
Police said on Tuesday that Robert Crimo purchased at least five firearms, including the AR-15-style rifle used in the Highland Park massacre. Police had initially claimed that Crimo was not known to them, but on Tuesday they admitted that they had twice questioned him in 2019. Both the interactions were quite disturbing as he was a troubled teen.
On one occasion, Crimo threatened to kill himself, while on the other occasion, he threatened to "kill everyone" in his family. Police were called to Robert Crimo's residence in April 2019 after learning that he had attempted suicide a week earlier, according to officials.
According to Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, officers met with Robert Crimo and his parents, but the situation was amicably handled by mental health professionals.
"There was no law-enforcement action to be taken. It was a mental-health issue handled by those professionals," Covelli said.
However, things didn't change much and a few months later in September 2019, police again questioned him after concerned family members reported to police that he had made death threats to his relative saying he would "kill everyone" in his family.
"A family member reported that Crimo said he was going to kill everyone and Crimo had a collection of knives," Covelli said. "The police responded to his residence. The police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo's home."
However, Robert Crimo wasn't arrested on any of the occasions and was left by the police to turn 21and buy two assault rifles in Illinois. Besides, he bought three other types of guns.
"There was no probable cause to arrest and no complaints assigned by the victims. They did notify the Illinois State Police," Covelli said.
It remains unclear why the two previous incidents were not flagged when he legally purchased the weapons.
A day after he reportedly shot seven people dead and over 40 others during the Fourth of July parade in the affluent Chicago suburb, Robert Crimo's two earlier run-ins with the law were made public.
According to Covelli, the suspect bought the confiscated collection of firearms in 2020 and 2021. Prior to that, in 2019, a huge collection of knives was also confiscated. Police at that time confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword.
After the knife incident, police immediately contacted Illinois State Police, but according to officials, Robert Crimo didn't have any guns at the time, so there was no firearm-identification owner's card that could have been canceled or evaluated.
However, because Robert Crimo was under 21, his father had to sponsor his application when he made a request for a firearm-identity owner's card three months after the firearms had been confiscated, the state police said in a statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"The subject was under 21 and the application was sponsored by the subject's father. Therefore, at the time of FOID application review in January of 2020, there was an insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application," the statement said.
Steven Greenberg, an attorney for Robert Crimo's parents, claimed that because the alleged shooter was living with his mother at the time, dad Bob Crimo Jr. was unaware of the threats or the knives that had been recovered.
According to Greenberg, Robert Crimo's parents did not keep an eye on his internet activity or are aware of the horrific pictures and videos he shared.
However, Robert Crimo's uncle, Paul Crimo has been defending his nephew. Paul Crimo recently recalled how he was acting normally on Sunday night.
Even though he glorified school massacres in YouTube rap songs, he insists that he displayed "no signs of violence." The reason behind yesterday's attack by the shooter remains a mystery.