In all these stories, there are always a million what-ifs. However, when people are given guns after a long history of violent threats, understanding is difficult.
The parents of accused Highland Park mass shooter Robert Crimo III have offered their “thoughts and prayers” to victims — as it emerged the suspect’s dad helped him buy his guns even after he was marked a “clear and present danger” over earlier death threats against his relatives.
Bob Crimo and his wife, Denise, broke their silence after retaining a local lawyer — one who just hours earlier had been tweeting outrage at the high-powered weapons his new client helped his son buy.
“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,” the family said in a statement late Tuesday.
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to everybody.”
Their attorney, Steve Greenberg of Greenberg Trial Lawyers, also said the parents “request that all respect their privacy as they try to sort [through] this tragedy.”
Before being retained, Greenberg had gone on a tirade about the shooting and lack of gun control laws.
“This is my hometown where I grew up and raised my kids. WTF is wrong with people. No one needs these high powered weapons!!!!!” he said. “F [Ted Cruz], Mitch McConnell and all like them.”
He said he stood by the tweet even as it emerged that his new client, the suspect’s dad, played a pivotal role in allowing his son to buy weapons even after the 21-year-old wannabe rapper had threatened “to kill everyone” in his family in September 2019.
Greenberg on Tuesday had insisted that the dad — a one-time mayoral candidate — only sponsored his son’s gun-buying spree because he had no idea about the threats or the collection of 16 knives, a dagger and a sword that were confiscated at the time.
However, Illinois State Police insisted late Tuesday that when the threat was investigated, “importantly, the father claimed the knives were his and they were being stored in the individual’s closet for safekeeping.
“Based upon that information, the Highland Park Police returned the knives to the father later that afternoon,” the force said.
The state force confirmed that local police alerted them to the fact that Crimo III should be treated as a “clear and present danger.”
However, “there were no arrests made in the September 2019 incident and no one, including family, was willing to move forward on a complaint nor did they subsequently provide information on threats or mental health that would have allowed law enforcement to take additional action,” the force said.
“Report indicates when police went to the home and asked the individual if he felt like harming himself or others, he responded no,” the force also stated.
Because Crimo did not possess a state firearm owners identification (FOID) card that could be revoked or have a pending application to deny, the state police involvement was closed, the force said.
But just three months later, when Crimo was 19, his father sponsored him in the first of four FOID cards to get his small arsenal of weapons, police said.
Because Crimo had not been arrested and his family failed to press charges or raise mental health concerns, Crimo was able to avoid Illinois’ “red flag” law designed to prevent people deemed to have violent tendencies from getting guns.
He passed four background checks in the purchase of his guns, all of them conducted in 2020 and 2021, well after the 2019 incidents that drew police attention, according to the state police.
He bought at least five guns, including the AR-15-style rifle allegedly used to kill seven people and injure at least 30 during the Fourth of July parade.
Despite his client’s role in helping his son get guns, Greenberg stood by his earlier attacks, saying, “I am 100% anti assault weapons.”
He insisted the focus should be on state police, not his client.
Illinois State Police “should ask why did THEY approve a FOID card and why do THEY allow the sale of assault weapons?” he tweeted.
Crimo on Tuesday was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted.