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Suspected gunman in Highland Park parade shooting charged with 7 counts of first-degree murder

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Death toll rises in July 4 parade mass shooting
Death toll rises in July 4 parade mass shooting 04:20

The suspected gunman in the deadly shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, officials announced Tuesday. "We anticipate dozens of more charges," Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said Tuesday night.

Rinehart said he will ask that the suspect, 21-year-old Robert "Bobby" Crimo III, be held without bail. If convicted, he would face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole, Rinehart said. 

Authorities said earlier Tuesday they believe the suspected gunman planned the attack several weeks in advance. Police said he wore women's clothing as a disguise and blended into the crowd after allegedly attacking parade-goers from a rooftop with a high-powered rifle, killing seven and wounding dozens more.

Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek on Tuesday identified six victims who died Monday as Katherine Goldstein, 64; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Irina McCarthy, 35; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78. The name of the seventh victim, Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, was released Wednesday.

CBS Chicago reports Kevin and Irina McCarthy were the parents of a 2-year-old boy who was separated from his parents during the chaos. Strangers helped take care of the child in the aftermath of the shooting, and police have now reunited him with his grandparents.

Toledo was visiting from Mexico, his family said. Sundheim was a staff member at nearby North Shore Congregation Israel, which had previously announced her death on its website.  

Highland Park officials identify parade shooting victims, reveal background on person of interest 15:33

A total of at least 45 people were injured or killed during the shooting, Highland Park Police said Tuesday. 

The suspect was taken into custody without incident Monday evening, hours after the shooting, when someone called 911 and a police officer pulled him over in his mother's car, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Chris Covelli told reporters. 

"We do believe Crimo pre-planned this attack for several weeks," Covelli said.

Investigators piece together clues in Highland Park, Illinois parade shooting 12:07

Investigators were speaking with the suspect, but they haven't uncovered a motive for the shooting, Covelli said. "The shooting appears to be completely random," he said.

Based on information investigators have so far uncovered, Covelli said Crimo bought the high-powered rifle used in the attack legally in Illinois. Police say more than 70 rounds were fired during the shooting.

Covelli said investigators believe the suspect used a fire escape ladder to climb onto the roof of a building overlooking the parade route, and that he wore women's clothing during the shooting in an attempt to conceal his facial tattoos and help him escape.

After the shooting, he left the roof, dropped the rifle and fled the scene with other people attending the Independence Day festivities in the Chicago suburb, Covelli said. Then he walked to his mother's home in the area and borrowed her car.

"He blended right in with everybody else as they were running around, almost as he was an innocent spectator as well," Covelli said.

Investigators are still looking for a female witness who they believe saw the suspect drop an item in a red blanket behind a Ross store after the shooting, Covelli said Tuesday.

Covelli also said that the suspect traveled to the Madison, Wisconsin, area before heading back to Illinois, where he was taken into custody.   

After authorities released a description of the car, an "alert member of the community" who saw the vehicle on the road called 911, Covelli said. A North Chicago police officer then saw the car, waited for backup and pulled the vehicle over, taking the suspect into custody. 

Police said a second rifle was found in the car, and they believe the suspect also bought that weapon legally, as well as other legally purchased firearms found at his home.

Covelli said the rifle recovered at the scene of the shooting led "directly" to the suspect.

Covelli said Tuesday evening that Highland Park police had interacted with the suspect on at least two occasions prior to the shooting. In April 2019, an individual contacted police after learning that the suspect had attempted to commit suicide. Police responded to his home but the situation was already being handled by mental health professionals and not deemed a police matter at the time. 

In September 2019, a family member reported that the suspect said he was going to "kill everyone." Police responded to his residence and removed several knives, including a dagger, and a sword from the residence, but, Covelli said, there was not probable cause to arrest him. The Illinois State Police were notified of the incident at the time.

When asked why these incidents did not prevent the suspect from legally obtaining multiple firearms, Rinehart said Tuesday that he could not comment on the state police's process for issuing the necessary permit in this specific case. He also noted that Illinois' red flag laws require family members or others who "know the subject" to bring a complaint to court. 

According to a statement from Illinois State Police, "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" back in 2019.  

"At that time of the September 2019 incident, the subject did not have a [Firearms Owner Identification] card to revoke or a pending FOID application to deny," the statement said. "Once this determination was made, Illinois State Police involvement with the matter was concluded."

In a second statement released Tuesday night, ISP said that the suspect passed three separate background checks when buying firearms in 2020, and another in 2021.

"The only offense included in the individual's criminal history was an ordinance violation in January 2016 for possession of tobacco," ISP said, adding, "The September 2019 Clear and Present Danger report made by the Highland Park Police Department was made in response to threats allegedly directed at the family, but the report indicates when police went to the home and asked the individual if he felt like harming himself or others, he responded no."

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said on "CBS Mornings" Tuesday she knew the suspect when he was a boy.

Highland Park mayor provides update on deadly Fourth of July shooting 05:55

"I was his Cub Scout pack leader," she said. "… My heart breaks for everybody in this town. I'm not sure what happened to him to compel him to commit this kind of evil in his hometown, but we have a city that is in deep mourning today, and we are going to take a long time to heal from all of this."

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