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Highland Park shooting suspect pleads not guilty to over 100 felony counts, including murder and attempted murder

July 4 parade shooting suspect pleads not guilty
July 4 parade shooting suspect pleads not guilty 00:30

The man accused of killing seven people and wounding dozens more in a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday. An attorney representing Robert Crimo III, the 21-year-old suspect, submitted the plea one week after prosecutors announced that a grand jury had indicted him on 117 felony counts for the attack.

The suspect appeared for a brief hearing Wednesday in Lake County's circuit court to enter a formal plea to the charges — 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery representing those killed and wounded during the parade in Highland Park, a suburb north of Chicago.

The suspect wore a COVID-19 face mask throughout the 10-minute arraignment and repeatedly told Judge Victoria Rossetti that he understood the charges and potential penalties he faces, including life imprisonment.

Aftermath of Highland Park parade shooting
People lay flowers and cards near a spot where a mass shooting took place during the 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, on July 10, 2022. Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Lake County prosecutors in late July announced that a grand jury had indicted the suspect on the charges. The prosecutors had previously filed seven murder charges against the 21-year-old in the days following the shooting.

The multiple first-degree murder charges allege the suspect intended to kill, caused death or great bodily harm, and took action with a strong probability of causing death or great bodily harm to the seven people who died.

A representative for the county public defenders office, which is representing the suspect, has said the office does not comment publicly on any cases. An attorney with the office entered his not guilty plea during Wednesday's court appearance.

Prosecutors have said the suspect admitted to the shooting once police arrested him following an extended search for the gunman who opened fire from the rooftop of a building along the parade route.

Highland Park Mayor addresses Senate Judiciary Committee about gun violence and banning assault-style weapons 04:32

Authorities have reported that the ages of those wounded ranged from eight to more than 80 years old. An 8-year-old boy, Cooper Roberts, was one of the youngest victims and among the 38 people injured. He was paralyzed from the waist down when his spine was severed during the shooting. Cooper is now in a rehab-focused hospital.

A motive for the attack has yet to be determined.

In comments delivered after the hearing, Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart declined to say whether the suspect could face additional charges and said he would not comment on whether his parents could be charged.

Some in the community have questioned why the suspect's parents apparently supported his interest in guns only months after he reportedly threatened suicide and violence.

George Gomez, an attorney representing the suspect's parents, said Wednesday that they are not concerned that criminal charges could be filed against them. Both attended Wednesday's hearing where they sat quietly behind their son.

Speaking with reporters afterward, Gomez described his clients as "devastated" and "heartbroken" for Highland Park and he said they are cooperating with authorities.

If convicted of killing at least two people, the suspect will face a mandatory life sentence, according to CBS Chicago. Meanwhile, the attempted murder charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, and the aggravated battery charges each carry up to 30 years in prison.

The suspect is being held without bond and is expected back in court on Nov. 1, CBS Chicago reports.

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