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Robert Crimo could face life without parole as murder charges revealed – live

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Bystanders run after hearing gunshots in shooting at July 4 parade in Illinois

Robert Crimo, the suspect in the mass shooting at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday.

If convicted, he will face life in prison without the possibility of parole. More charges, including potential federal ones, are expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks.

Authorities say the July Fourth massacre wasn’t the first time the 21-year-old has been linked to violence. In 2019, Mr Crimo threatened “kill everyone” in his home, authorities have revealed.

Lake County Sheriff deputy chief Christopher Covelli said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that officers were called to the home of Robert E Crimo in September 2019 and confiscated several knives, but did not arrest the suspect.

Mr Crimo is suspected of scaling a fire escape and firing more than 70 rounds down onto the July 4th parade crowd from a business rooftop, leaving five dead at the scene, fatally wounding two, and injuring dozens.

He was arrested about eight hours later after an intensive manhunt.

Photo of Robert Crimo dressed as a woman to escape the area of the mass shooting

(WGN9)

Mr Covelli earlier said that the suspect “planned his attack for several weeks” and dressed in women’s clothes as a disguise so that he could slip under the radar as he fled the scene.

The names of six of the seven victims have been released: Katherine Goldstein, 64, Irina McCarthy, 35, Kevin McCarthy, 37, Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, Stephen Strauss, 88, and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78.

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‘I can’t stop hearing it’

Richard Isenberg and his wife were watching the parade near a shop that sells outdoor gear in Central Avenue when they heard the shooting sound.

The couple fled, turning around a corner and into a lot full of large dumpsters. They saw a man lift his children into one of the dumpsters. He asked the Isenbergs to keep an eye on them as he ran back to the street for other relatives who had come to the parade with him.

People arrive for a vigil near the scene of a mass shooting yesterday at a Fourth of July parade, on 5 July 2022 in Highland Park, Illinois

(Getty Images)

The couple returned to the scene Tuesday to try to retrieve their car, which was still in an area cordoned-off by police investigating the crime. Recalling the thunderous sound of gunfire, Isenberg’s wife, who declined to share her name, covered her ears and closed her eyes.

“I can’t stop hearing it,” she said.

Amid the mayhem, the shooter, dressed as a woman, slipped into the panicked crowds and, for the moment, got away.

Namita Singh6 July 2022 07:00

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‘I can’t stop hearing it’

Richard Isenberg and his wife were watching the parade near a shop that sells outdoor gear in Central Avenue when they heard the shooting sound.

The couple fled, turning around a corner and into a lot full of large dumpsters. They saw a man lift his children into one of the dumpsters. He asked the Isenbergs to keep an eye on them as he ran back to the street for other relatives who had come to the parade with him.

(AP)

The couple returned to the scene Tuesday to try to retrieve their car, which was still in an area cordoned-off by police investigating the crime. Recalling the thunderous sound of gunfire, Isenberg’s wife, who declined to share her name, covered her ears and closed her eyes.

“I can’t stop hearing it,” she said.

Amid the mayhem, the shooter, dressed as a woman, slipped into the panicked crowds and, for the moment, got away.

Namita Singh6 July 2022 06:45

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‘I thought it was blanks, part of the parade at first’

The atmosphere along the short but crowded parade route was exuberant as the kids stepped along around 9.40am, said Vivian Visconti, a 19-year-old Highland Park Park District counsellor who helped organise and direct the children’s parade.

“It was fun, cheerful, and hot,” she recalled. It took the children on the cycles no more than 20 minutes to traverse the entire parade route, which ended at the bottom of a hill near a park. One of the reasons the smaller kids went first was so they could run back up the hill and watch the rest of the parade.

“We may have been one of the only groups who finished the parade route,” said Visconti, who also made her way back up the hill, to the other end of Central Avenue.

Dozens of mourners gather for a vigil near Central Avenue and St Johns Avenue in downtown Highland Park

(AP)

It was around 10.20am when she heard several slower booming sounds followed immediately by a rapid secession of what seemed 20 loud pops, she said.

“I thought it was blanks, part of the parade at first,” she said. “But my friend turned to me and told me, ‘No, it’s real!”’

After a pause of around five seconds, she heard another rapid series of shots. She and her friend ran.

Like most others who heard shots, they never saw the shooter, who had climbed a fire escape to perch atop a row of speciality stores. As he fired, some parade-goers fell, mortally wounded. Many others lay bleeding or were carried away by family and friends.

Namita Singh6 July 2022 06:24

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‘It was chaos’, recalls witness

David Shapiro and his wife brought their two young kids to enjoy the Independence Day parade in their hometown north of Chicago, snagging a spot in front of a boutique winery.

The children’s parade in downtown Highland Park had already gone by, with about 50 school-age children riding bikes, scooters and tricycles. The musicians of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, complete with a full drum set and brass section, were starting to play atop a flatbed trailer.

Then came the sound that Shapiro knew did not fit: pop pop pop pop pop.

Dozens of mourners gather for a vigil near Central Avenue and St Johns Avenue in downtown Highland Park, one day after a gunman killed at least seven people and wounded dozens more

(AP)

Before he knew what was happening, parade-goers from farther down the route began running toward the 47-year-old and his family, screaming about someone with a gun.

“It was chaos,” Mr Shapiro recalled. “People didn’t know right away where the gunfire was coming from, whether the gunman was in front or behind you chasing you.”

Namita Singh6 July 2022 06:11

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A long list of forgotten gun violence victims

Amid the stream of mass shootings that have become chillingly commonplace in America, the reality of the nation’s staggering murder rate can often be seen more clearly in the deaths that never make national news.

Take this weekend in the Chicago area. On Monday, a rooftop shooter opened fire into crowds gathered for an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, killing at least seven people and wounding some 30.

Less talked about, Chicago Police say 68 people were shot in the city between Friday at 6 p.m. and just before midnight on Monday. Eight of them died.

Most gun violence in America is related to seemingly ordinary disputes that spin out of control and someone goes for a gun. Often, the victim and the shooter know one another. They are co-workers and acquaintances, siblings and neighbours. They are killed in farming villages, small towns and crowded cities.

Read the details in this report:

Namita Singh6 July 2022 05:53

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Crimo legally bought two-high powered rifles despite threats of violence and suicide

Highland Park suspect Robert Crimo legally bought five weapons, including two high-powered rifles, despite the authorities being called to his home twice in 2019 for threats of violence and suicide, police say.

Mr Crimo used a high-powered rifle “similar to an AR-15” to shoot more than 70 rounds from atop a commercial building into a crowd that had gathered for the parade, said a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.

Police said they were called to the suspect’s home in September 2019 after a family member called to say he was threatening “to kill everyone” in the home.

Surveillance image of what police believe to be is Robert E Crimo dressed in women’s clothing

(via REUTERS)

Task force spokesman Christopher Covelli said police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but said there was no sign he had any guns at the time.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart was asked why a red flag warning had not been sought in 2019, after police went to his home.

“I don’t know the internal process of Illinois State Police in terms of after that report was taken. We know there was not an application pending at that time,” he said.

Namita Singh6 July 2022 05:40

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Prosecutor demands ban on assault weapons

Lake County state’s attorney Eric Rinehart called for a ban on assault weapons as he announced the charges against Highland Park shooting suspect, Robert Crimo.

After praising the state’s existing red flag laws, Mr Rinehart said “we should also ban assault weapons in Illinois and beyond.”

“We must do everything we can to make sure the horror that marked these streets, that echoed through these buildings, never happens again,” said Mr Rinehart.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Reinhart speaks at a news conference on 5 July 2022 in Highland Park, Illinois

(Getty Images)

“All of the people who died steps from here lost their freedom, all of it. Every ounce of freedom that they had. The freedom to love. The freedom to learn. And the freedom to live a full life.”

He added: “Their freedom matters too. We must do more as we think and reflect upon their freedom on this 5 July.

Namita Singh6 July 2022 05:34

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ICYMI: Suspect in Highland Park shooting charged with seven counts of murder

Robert E Crimo was charged on Tuesday with seven counts of murder, as police revealed they had reported him as posing a “clear and present danger” after alleged threats to his family in 2019.

Mr Crimo is suspected of shooting his victims from a sniper’s perch on a rooftop above the parade in the suburb of Highland Park, Illinois.

He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted, Illinois state attorney Eric Reinhart said.

Mr Reinhart said the first-degree murder charges would be followed by “dozens of more charges” and that he would ask that Crimo remain held in custody without bail at the suspect’s first court appearance, scheduled for Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear if Mr Crimo had a lawyer.

My colleague Andrew Buncombe reports:

Namita Singh6 July 2022 05:12

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Watch: How the Highland Park shooting played out on the ground

Fourth of July festivities cascaded into bloody mayhem in the Illinois city of Highland Park when bursts of gunfire were heard over the celebratory music and screaming spectators ran for their lives.

Appearing to be captured from the mobile phone of a teenage reveller, the video began by showing families sitting on the kerb, watching a marching band go past.

But suddenly the band members broke into a run and sprinted off in the direction of the parade route as watchers started to leap up from the ground.

Josh Marcus6 July 2022 04:00

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Community members in shock as Robert Crimo charged in Highland Park shooting

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering has revealed that she once served as the Cub Scout leader for Robert Crimo, the 22-year-old person charged with seven counts of murder for the Fourth of July mass shooting that left seven dead and dozens injured.

Speaking to NBC Today Show host Hoda Kotb on Tuesday morning, Ms Rotering explained that she could not say whether Mr Crimo was known to authorities before the Independence Day shooting but she had personally known him several years before when she worked as a Cub Scout leader in the area.

“I know him as somebody who was a Cub Scout when I was the Cub Scout leader,” Ms Rotering said. “And it’s one of those things where you step back and you say, ‘What happened?’ How did somebody become this angry, this hateful to then take it out on innocent people who, literally, were just having a family day out?”

When pressed by the host about whether she had any specific memories of Mr Crimo from when he was a little boy, the mayor kept her response blunt but succinct: “He was just a little boy.”

Johanna Chisholm has more.

Josh Marcus6 July 2022 03:30

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