Alleged Highland Park shooter pleads not guilty on all counts in July 4 parade attack

Highland Park, IL shooting killed 7 people, injured at least 30 more

ByMichelle Gallardo, Eric Horng, and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Thursday, August 4, 2022
Highland Park parade shooting suspect pleads not guilty on all counts
Highland Park, Illinois parade shooting suspect Robert Crimo III pleaded not guilty on all counts Wednesday.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- On Wednesday morning, the accused gunman in the Highland Park parade tragedy entered a not guilty plea on all counts.

Robert Crimo III, 21, had been indicted on 117 counts after he allegedly killed seven people and wounded at least 30 others.

Investigators have said Crimo planned the attack for weeks, maybe even months.

RELATED: Highland Park temporarily moves memorial items honoring parade shooting victims

He was back in court just a week after a grand jury indicted him on 117 counts, all of which include felony charges of murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery.

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart took time after the arraignment to explain some of the plethora of charges.

"Seven people lost their lives; there are three alternative ways that we see, in very many murder cases, to charge the offense of murder. That's why there are 21 counts. If you were to go to any murder prior to this proceeding, you would see that very typically there are three. Sometimes there are two, but most often there three," he said.

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart speaks after Highland Park shooting suspect entered a not guilty plea in court Wednesday.

Crimo sat next to his public defenders with no fewer than eight sheriff's officers standing guard.

The courtroom had strict rules under a decorum order for the case.

There were very few seats available, and attendees wearing anything in support of Highland Park were not expected to be allowed inside.

Victims of the shooting were invited to watch via Zoom.

Ashley Beasley, who along with her young son fled the gunfire that day, was among those in court seated behind Crimo.

"I would like to make sure, see that he never, that the shooter never faces the light of day again," she said.

Crimo was escorted into the courtroom by three officers, sitting handcuffed and masked, wearing a Lake County Jail jumpsuit next to his three attorneys.

The attorney for the parents of Highland Park shooting suspect speaks after Robert Crimo III entered a not guilty plea in court.

Crimo previously confessed to the shooting, authorities have said.

People hurt in the shooting ranged from 8 to 80 years old, including 8-year-old Cooper Roberts, who was paralyzed from the waist down when the shooting severed his spine.

RELATED: Cooper Roberts update: Boy paralyzed in July 4 parade shooting moves from hospital to rehab center

As the mourning and recovery continues, the Highland Park community is continuing to depend on each other to make it through this. A National Night Out Tuesday highlighted that unity.

"This community, who from the moment this tragedy occurred has worked together, shoulder-to-shoulder to help those in need, police officers, firefighters, health communicators, medical personnel and citizens alike, working together to restore our peace and health and well-being for all involved," Highland Park Police Chief Louis Jogmen said.

Mayor Nancy Rotering also voiced her support for law enforcement at the event.

"They are our hometown heroes. They are an integral part of our community, and they are one of the many reasons that we can confidently say, 'We are Highland Park,'" she said.

Attorneys agreed to return on Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. for a case management conference.

For those still struggling, Highland Park resident Rachel Jacoby is among those organizing a virtual town hall Wednesday night on the subject of survivorship.

"What we went through is traumatic," she said. "What this community went through is traumatic so tonight is going to be a space to heal, to come together as a community, with fellow survivors. It is going to be a place where you can give help and get help."

That virtual town hall begins at 7:30 tonight.