Watch: Authorities say July 4 shooting suspect had two contacts with police in 2019
By Brendan O’Brien and Steve Gorman
HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois (Reuters) – The man accused of killing seven people at a July 4th parade in the Chicago area escaped safeguards in an Illinois “red flag” law designed to prevent people deemed to have violent tendencies from obtaining guns. , authorities revealed on Tuesday.
The disclosures raised questions about the adequacy of the state’s “red flag” laws, even as a prosecutor praised the system as “strong” during a press conference announcing seven counts of first-degree murder against 21-year-old suspect Robert, E. .Crim III.
Sergeant Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said earlier in the day that Crimo had legally purchased a total of five guns, including the suspected murder weapon, despite having twice come to police attention for behavior suggesting that he could harm himself or others.
The first instance was an emergency 911 call in April 2019 reporting that Crimo had attempted suicide, followed in September of that year by a police visit over alleged “kill everyone” threats he had directed at family members, he said. Covelli.
According to Covelli, police responding to the second incident seized a collection of 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from the Crimean home in Highland Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where the shooting took place on Monday. But no arrests were made because authorities at the time did not have probable cause to take him into custody, the sheriff’s sergeant said.
“There were no complaints signed by any of the victims,” explained Covelli.
Later on Tuesday came a separate statement from the Illinois State Police reporting that the agency had received a report from the Highland Park Police declaring Crimo a “clear and present danger” following the alleged threats against relatives in September 2019.
At the time, however, Crimo did not have a state “Firearm Owners Identification (FOID)” card that could be revoked or a pending FOID application to deny. Therefore, state police involvement in the matter was terminated, the agency said.
State police also said that no relatives or anyone else was willing to “proceed with a formal complaint” or provide “information about threats or mental health that would allow authorities to take further action.”
To see: Aerial footage shows the scene of the Chicago shooting
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Three months later, at age 19, Crimo applied for his first FOID card, under the patronage of his father. But since no firearm restraining order or other legal action against Crimo was ever sought, “there was not sufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID request,” state police said.
Crimo underwent four background checks on the purchase of his guns, all carried out in 2020 and 2021, well after the 2019 incidents that came to police attention, according to the state police.
State police said the only offense detected in Crimo’s criminal history during background checks was for illegal possession of tobacco in 2016 and that “no reports of mental health bans” from healthcare professionals have come to light.
State police said that when officers who visited the family home about the alleged threats Crimo made in September 2019 asked him “if he felt like harming himself or others” and that “he replied ‘ no'”.
“Additionally and importantly, the father claimed that the knives were his and that they were being kept in (his son’s) closet for security,” state police said. “Based on this information, Highland Park Police returned the knives to the father later that afternoon.”
Several US politicians in both parties have called for broader enactment and enforcement of “red flag” laws, which typically allow courts to issue restraining orders allowing authorities to confiscate firearms from individuals or prevent them from purchasing weapons, when they are considered to pose a significant threat to you or others.
But Reinhart, the state attorney who indicted Crimo on Tuesday, could not explain how Crimo could legally obtain weapons without the alleged 2019 threat and the “clear and present danger” report that triggered the “red flag” measures. state.
Last month, Congress passed a national gun reform law, including provisions to provide federal funding to states that administer red flag statutes.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Highland Park, Illinois, Writing and additional reporting and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Robert Birsel)