THE suspected July 4th parade shooter appeared to have had a tumultuous upbringing, but it would be "extremely difficult to ascribe any liability" to his parents, a law expert said.
Robert Crimo III, 21, allegedly opened fire into a crowd of people lined along the streets of downtown Highland Park, Illinois, and killed eight people and injured dozens more.
He's been arrested and charged with several counts of murder – with more charges expected to be filed. He pleaded not guilty although prosecutors said he confessed.
The mass shooting rocked the affluent Chicago suburb.
The aftermath is still felt emotionally and physically with several blocks of streets still cordoned off and considered a crime scene, which is still covered with strollers, lawn chairs, and children's toys.
The guns that Crimo III allegedly used were legally purchased, and the suspect had a permit that his father – Robert Crimo Jr – sponsored in December 2019 because his son was under 21.
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The guns allegedly used were bought legally, law enforcement said.
But the father sponsored the permit just three months after the suspect allegedly threatened to "kill everyone" in the house during a domestic incident, according to the police report.
Illinois State Police said last week that they're opening an investigation into the suspect's father.
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Duncan Levin, former federal prosecutor, and now a highly regarded defense attorney, told The Sun that he thinks the investigation into the dad is "likely just politics."
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State police might be "possibly shifting the blame away from themselves since they were the entity that actually conducted the background check," Levin said.
The FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card and guns were obtained and purchased legally, which Levin believes would be "extremely difficult to ascribe any liability to the parents."
The devil is in the details," Levin said.
"If he made any material misrepresentations, then there is a possibility that he could be liable.
"But if, as he suggests, all he did was consent to allow a background check, it would be highly improbable that he will be found liable."
Crimo Jr sponsored his son's gun permit in December 2019, according to state police.
Three months earlier – September 2019 – police responded to a domestic disturbance where Crimo III allegedly threatened to "kill everyone" in the house, the police report said.
His parents told responding officers that their son was depressed and had a history of drug use, according to the report.
Law enforcement confiscated several weapons – including a tin lunchbox with 16 knives, a 12-inch dagger, and a 24-inch Samuri sword – but they were returned the same after day after Crimo Jr said they were his, Illinois State Police said.
No firearms restraining order or orders of protection were filed because the family didn't want to move ahead with the complaint, state police said. The matter was concluded.
"Obviously, it is concerning that he passed the background check given his multiple contacts over the years with law enforcement and the red flags associated with it," Levin said.
That's what Steve Greenberg, a lawyer representing the parents, said in a series of tweets on July 6 in response to the court of public opinion pointing the finger at Crimo III's parents.
"(Illinois State Police) should ask why did THEY approve a FOID card and why do THEY allow the sale of assault weapons?" Greenberg tweeted.
"The 'system' is trying to make this about parenting," said Greenberg, whose representation of Crimo III's parents is separate from their son's representation.
"The parents recognize that is a legitimate concern. However, it is important to know the Illinois State Police renewed the gun card when their son turned 21, long before this without any involvement from his father.
"By the way, the law does not require a parent to sponsor, the law simply requires them to consent that their child may apply. It is then up to ISP to decide if the individual is competent to own a gun.
"And the bigger question, that must be answered and resolved, is why are military-grade assault weapons available for anyone to purchase?"
NOT THE FIRST POLICE-CRIMO FAMILY RUN-IN
It was reported that Crimo III moved out of his parents' home following the September 2019 incident and lived with his uncle, Paul.
More than a decade before the domestic disturbance or last week's shooting, Crimo III's mother Denise Pesina was charged with endangering the life of a child.
She allegedly left Crimo III in a hot car for about 30 minutes in 2002, according to reports.
During The Sun's reporting in Highland Park, the outlet asked the suspect's uncle Paul and close friend, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, about Crimo III's relationship with his family.
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His friend said he didn't mention his mom, and his uncle said he didn't think there was a rift between his nephew and his parents.
“I’m shocked. It’s too much to process," Paul Crimo said from his car.There were no warning signs. Nothing that I saw.”
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