Alleged Highland Park shooter indicted on 117 felony charges
Highland Park, Illinois - A Lake County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Robert Crimo III on 117 felony counts for the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park that killed seven people and wounded dozens of others.
Crimo (21) already faced seven counts of first-degree murder for the shootings. The indictments announced Wednesday add an additional 14 counts of first-degree murder for a total of 21 – three counts for each of the seven people killed.
The panel also indicted Crimo on 48 counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery for each victim who was injured by gunfire that erupted from atop a building as people gathered for the Independence Day parade in downtown Highland Park.
Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said Wednesday that grand jurors returned indictments on each count sought by prosecutors.
"I want to thank law enforcement and the prosecutors who presented evidence to the grand jury today," Rinehart said in a statement released with news of the indictments. "Our investigation continues, and our victim specialists are working around the clock to support all those affected by this crime that led to 117 felony counts being filed today."
In the days following Crimo's arrest and the lodging of the initial murder charges, Rinehart said his office planned to bring dozens of additional charges.
Alleged shooter could spend life behind bars
Crimo is being held in the Lake County jail with no possibility of bond.
During his arraignment, which is scheduled for next week, Crimo will be informed that under Illinois law, he will face a sentence of natural life in prison if he were to be convicted of murder in the deaths of more than one person.
The indictments also say that authorities will seek additional sentence enhancements for crimes committed with a firearm. The 48 attempted murder counts carry possible sentences of 26 to 50 years, and the 48 aggravated battery with firearm charges carry six to 30-year terms upon conviction.
The indictments did not shed any light on a possible motive for the alleged attack.
Authorities have said that Crimo was infatuated with the numbers four and seven, which played a role in choosing the date of the attack – the fourth day of the seventh month – but police have not said what may have motivated the attack.
Highland Park mayor calls for federal assault weapons ban
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering declined to comment Wednesday on the indictments.
She said via a spokesperson that the city's legal counsel had advised city officials against directly commenting on the legal case against Crimo.
On Monday, Highland Park held its first City Council meeting since the shooting, with the mayor, who has been to the White House twice since the shooting, again calling for a federal assault weapons ban.
"Nothing has changed and we need help from all levels of government," Rotering said at the meeting. "We need to pursue all options. We need to continue to work to save lives right now."
Suspect's preliminary hearing rescheduled
Crimo had been scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing. That appearance has been rescheduled for August 3, when it is expected he will be formally arraigned on the charges.
Authorities allege Crimo, who lived in Highland Park, climbed onto a store building and fired more than 80 rounds from an assault rifle into the crowd along the parade route before escaping in the ensuing chaos. Police said Crimo disguised himself as a woman and dropped the assault rifle before escaping.
He was taken into custody later that day after a police officer spotted him driving in North Chicago. Police later said that in the hours after the shooting, Crimo drove to the Madison, Wisconsin, area where he contemplated another shooting after coming upon a gathering.
Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti issued an order Tuesday sealing from the public all materials used in the investigation or court case. The order forbids prosecutors and defense attorneys from disclosing those materials except for in developing their cases.
Those materials include police and surveillance videos, audio recordings, photos, police reports and medical records, but does not apply to the public court record.
Cover photo: Collage: JIM VONDRUSKA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP & MAX HERMAN / AFP