Case against father of Highland Park mass shooting suspect could take months before trial

Robert E. Crimo Jr., father of Robert Crimo III, waits for court to begin before Judge George D. Strickland at the Lake County, Ill., Courthouse Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Waukegan. Crimo Jr. faces seven counts of felony reckless conduct for signing the application for his son's firearm owners ID card in December of 2019.

The case against the father of the Highland Park mass shooting suspect won’t go to trial until the lengthy evidence discovery process in his son’s case is complete, prosecutors said at a hearing Thursday.

Robert Crimo Jr. was charged last month with seven counts of reckless conduct, one for each person killed in the July 4, 2022 mass shooting, because he helped his son apply for a FOID card in 2019 despite his troubled past.

At Thursday’s hearing in Crimo Jr.’s case, it was agreed the copious amount of evidence related to the shooting would be made available to Crimo Jr.’s lawyers, as well.

At the last hearing in the case against the suspected shooter, Robert Crimo III, prosecutors said they are reviewing thousands of pages of documents and hours of surveillance footage and sharing it with the defendant’s lawyers.

Crimo Jr. helped his son with the FOID application just three months after the teenager had been the subject of a “clear and present danger” report filed by a juvenile relative who alleged he had threatened to “kill everyone.” The report said the person who filed the complaint expressed fear about returning home.

If convicted on any of the counts, Crimo Jr. could be sentenced to up to three years in prison on the Class 4 felonies, such as reckless conduct, or receive probation.

George M. Gomez, Crimo Jr.’s attorney, said during a brief news conference after the hearing that his client was going through the process of coping with the situation.

“As we’ve stated before, we’ve been a little bit surprised about getting charged,” Gomez told reporters Thursday.

While Gomez spoke to the media in the Waukegan court tower lobby, Crimo Jr. kept out of sight past the security checkpoint.

Crimo Jr.’s case will be back before Lake County Judge George Strickland on Feb. 16.

His son is charged with 21 counts of first-degree murder in the July 4 attack, three charges for each of the seven people killed by gunfire. He also is charged with 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for each person struck by a bullet, bullet fragment or shrapnel.

The suspect, now 22, is accused of opening fire from a rooftop during the annual July 4 parade in downtown Highland Park. Officials said the rifle used to carry out the mass shooting was purchased legally by the suspect.

Killed in the shooting were Highland Park residents Katherine Goldstein, 64; Stephen Straus, 88; Jacquelyn “Jacki” Sundheim, 63; and husband and wife, Kevin and Irina McCarthy, 37 and 35, respectively, as well as Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, of Morelos, Mexico, and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, of Waukegan. Dozens more were injured.