A 21-year-old man who opened fire on a woman during a July 4 parade in a wealthy suburb of Chicago was charged Tuesday with seven counts of first-degree murder, prosecutors said.
Robert Crimo, 21, was arrested on Monday, hours after an attack on an Independence Day crowd.
“There will be more charges,” Lake County State Attorney Eric Reinhart told reporters. “We expect dozens of more charges centered around each victim.”
The death toll rose to seven after one of the injured died at the hospital on Tuesday, police spokesman Christopher Cowell said. More than 35 people were injured.
The dead included Kevin McCarthy, 37, and his wife, Irina, 35 – parents of a two-year-old boy who was found wandering alone after the shooting, according to CBS News.
Cowell said no motive for the attack was established, causing the frightened parade-goers to flee for their lives.
“We believe Crimo had planned this attack for several weeks,” and he acted alone, he said.
“We have no information at the moment to indicate whether she was racially motivated, religious or any other protected status,” he added.
He said Crimeo has a history of mental health problems and threatening behavior.
In 2019, police were called twice to Crimo’s home, once to investigate a suicide attempt and another time because a relative said he had threatened to “kill” everyone in the family, he said.
Police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from the house but made no arrests, he said.
Cowell said Crimo used a fire escape to enter the roof of a building overlooking the parade route and fired more than 70 rounds from an AR-15 rifle, one of several guns he had legally purchased.
“Crimo was dressed as a woman, and investigators believe he did this to hide his tattoos on his face and his identity, and to help him escape with other people fleeing the chaos,” he said.
After the shooting, Crimo went to his mother’s nearby home and borrowed her car, Cowell said. He was apprehended about eight hours after the brief chase.
Authorities are also investigating the annoying online posts and videos made by Crimo, he said.
The shooting has shocked the highbrow suburb.
“We’re all still suffering,” Mayor Nancy Rottering told NBC’s Today show. “Everyone knows someone who has been directly affected.”
The mayor said she knew the suspected gunman when he was a little boy in the Cub Scouts.
“How did someone get so angry, then how did it become so disgusting to draw on innocent people who were literally spending family days?” Asked Rottering.
Crimo, whose father ran unsuccessfully for mayor and owns a store called Bobs Pantry and Deli in Highland Park, was an amateur musician who billed himself as “Awake the Rapper.”
Online postings of small creams include violent content that mentions guns and shootings.
A YouTube video posted eight months ago showed cartoons of gunmen and people being shot.
One voice-over says, “I just want to do it.”
He continues: “This is my destiny. Everything has led to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself. ”
Crimo, who has the word “Awake” tattooed on his eyebrows, is seen in numerous photos wearing an “FBI” hat and a picture of Trump playing the Cape.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the shooting is the latest in a wave of gun violence in the United States, where an estimated 40,000 deaths a year are caused by guns.
‘Epidemic of gun violence’
The in-depth gun control debate was once again fueled by two murders in May, in which 10 black people were shot dead in a supermarket in New York and 19 children and two teachers were killed in an elementary school in Texas.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who arrived in Chicago on Tuesday for the summit of the nation’s largest teachers’ union, said the Texas shooting was “a reminder of the dangers that our children and our teachers face every day,” and appealed again. Congress will ban attack weapons.
Speaking later at the Highland Park shooting site, Harris said: “The whole nation needs to understand … that this can happen anywhere, in any peace-loving community.”
When cities and towns in the United States hold parades and people attend barbecues, sporting events and fireworks displays, Highland Park shooting gave Independence Day a boost.
In another shooting on July 4, two police officers were injured when they came under fire during a fireworks display in Philadelphia.
In Highland Park, Emily Prazak, who marched in the parade, described the attack.
“We heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pop and I thought they were crackers,” Prazak said.
President Joe Biden has vowed to continue the fight against “gun violence.”
Just weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a fundamental right to carry handguns in public, he signed the first important federal bill of the decade on gun safety.
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