Father of mass shooter faces jail for sponsoring his son’s gun licence

Highland Park Shooting - Image Anton Prado Shutterstock

The father of the Highland Park mass shooting is facing a jail sentence after he was charged with seven felony counts for sponsoring the shooter’s (his son) gun licence.

According to the Guardian on Saturday, December 17, Robert Crimo Jr was arrested after he handed himself in on Friday.

The Lake county state’s attorney, Eric Rinehart, said: “Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenagers should have a weapon.

“In this case, the system failed when Robert Crimo Jr sponsored his son. He knew what he knew and he signed the form anyway.”

A well-known resident in the wealthy suburb of Highland Park, Crimo Jr sponsored his son’s gun licence in 2019. According to local authorities, he did this some months after his son Robert Crimo III had tried to commit suicide using a machete.

Crimo III was also accused by a family member of making threats to “kill everyone.”

Charging the parent or guardian of a shooter is unusual according to legal experts, however, they say that the state attorney must have sufficient evidence to directly incriminate him for them to have laid charges.

The lawyer representing Crimo III, George M Gomez, described the charges as “baseless and unprecedented” in a press statement.

He said: “This decision should alarm every single parent in the United States of America who according to the Lake county state’s attorney knows exactly what is going on with their 19-year-old adult children and can be held criminally liable for actions taken nearly three years later.

“These charges are absurd and we will fight them every step of the way.”

He added that Crimo Jr. “continues to sympathise and feel terrible for the individuals and families who were injured and lost loved ones”, but the attorney called the charges “politically motivated and a distraction from the real change that needs to happen in this country.”

Crimo III killed seven and injured more than 30 people at the beloved Highland Park parade, firing 83 shots into the crowd. The indiscriminate shooting left people of all ages dead and injured, including an eight-year-old boy who was paralysed from the waist down.

Illinois state police reviewed Crimo III’s December 2019 gun license application and found no reason to deny it they said, because he had no arrests, no criminal record, no serious mental health problems, no orders of protection and no other behaviour that would disqualify him.

However, records show that Crimo III attempted suicide by machete in April 2019 and that the police report noted a “history of attempts.” A report from a family member in September 2019 also shows that Crimo III had a collection of knives and had threatened to “kill everyone.”

Crimo III and his mother disputed the threat of violence at the time and Crimo Jr. claimed the knife collection belonged to him. As a result, police took no further action and returned the knives.

Robert Crimo Jr had told reporters that he did not expect to face charges and did not believe he did anything wrong.

This is not the first time parents have been charged following mass shootings by their offspring, however, this case is somewhat different with the father of the mass shooter having sponsored his son’s gun licence knowing he had a history of problems.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]