'This isn't the parent's fault': Accused Highland Park shooter's parents 'distraught,' attorney says

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Thursday, July 7, 2022
Attorney representing accused Highland Park shooter's parents says family is 'distraught'
The attorney for the accused Highland Park shooter's parents spoke in an on-camera interview for the first time Wednesday.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- The attorney for the accused Highland Park shooter's parents spoke in an on-camera interview for the first time.

Steve Greenberg is representing Robert Crimo III's parents and said his clients are distraught, adding that they are suffering along with everyone else.

"They are people who have lived in this community all their lives," the family attorney, Steve Greenberg, said.

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However, there are questions over what, if any, charges Crimo's parents could face in this case. Especially after members of his family were worried enough to call the police three years ago concerned that Crimo was going to, "Kill everyone."

Crimo's father is said to have sponsored him for a FOID card after that incident, when Crimo was just 19 years old, officials said.

Greenberg, who once represented R. Kelly here in Chicago, has now been retained by Robert and Denise Crimo as their attorney.

He spoke to ABC7 Wednesday, offering condolences from his clients.

The attorney says Crimo's parents are suffering along with everyone else.

"I don't know how much worse it could get then you wake up in the morning and a few hours later, you realize that someone that you've loved and nurtured all their lives has done such a terrorific act, and done it to people that you love and respect," Greenberg said.

He said his clients were friends with many who attended the parade, and "knew some of the people who, unfortunately, fell victim to senseless violence," adding that they've also "lost a son."

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"This isn't the parent's fault. This is the fault of the young man who was allowed by the system that's out there to buy military-grade assault rifles."

Greenberg also commented on the 2019 incident when police were called to investigate a potential threat from Crimo and ultimately confiscated a knife collection in the process.

"The police investigated. They didn't perceive there was any great threat because they returned these knives to the family just a few hours later," Greenberg said. "And there were no other incidents. So we're three years later now."

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However, after that incident, which followed another where Crimo was threatened to take his own life, Crimo's father sponsored his 19-year-old son for a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID). Authorities said because no complaints were filed, Crimo passed multiple background checks and legally obtained a FOID card, which allowed the teen to legally purchase the weapons he allegedly used to massacre families and parade goers on the Fourth of July in Highland Park.

Lake County Sheriff's officials listed off the weapons Wednesday that Crimo has legally purchased over the years.

In 2020, Crimo bought four weapons: the rifle allegedly used in the July 4 attack, a Kel-Tec SUB200, a Remington 700 and a shotgun. Then in 2021, after his 21st birthday, Crimo also purchased a Glock43X.

The gun dealer submitted incorrect information when Crimo bought a firearm in 2020, which is why the clear and present danger report didn't show up, according to Illinois State Police.

"Their interest is not in getting their son out of trouble but in helping to further the conversation and the analysis so that maybe this stops happening in our country. I am certainly not defending what occurred, nor are they. This has everything to do with helping prevent another shooting from another young man," Greenberg said.

Illinois State Police said, "There's probably going to be a civil litigation there's probably going to be, (....) there is ongoing criminal prosecution, criminal investigation. Issues of culpability, liability, who may have responsibility in certain circumstances are all part and parcel of that process so making a conclusionary statement and Illinois State Police weighing in on that is not appropriate for us - that process has to weigh out. The court process. That determination and the answer to that question is something that will have to be decided in court."

Crimo's father also claimed the weapons in the house belonged to him following the 2019 incident, so not all the weapons were taken from the house, ISP said.

ISP added that based on the information law enforcement had at the time, there was nothing that could have done to deny Crimo's FOID card to legally buy his guns.

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"If they face charges, they'll deal with charges. When it happens. Their concern is helping the community to heal and helping everyone to figure out how to keep this from happening again," Greenberg said. "It's a senseless act, but it certainly isn't something that the parents promoted, taught or advocated for."

Greenberg said his clients are cooperating fully with the investigation, are answering questions, and have provided authorities access to electronics and more.

"When we are looking to cast blame should we look at the therapist that they took their son to who did not feel he needed therapy, the coworkers who did not think there was anything unusual, the friends who saw nothing troubling, or the people who watched his video for enjoyment and encouraged him to make more? Should we look at the state of Illinois which does not even ask on the consent form whether there have been any issues or any police contact, only if there have been convictions, or to the state police who renewed the man's FOID card when he turned 21 without any parental involvement, or the gun stores that sell anybody military grade assault weapons," Greenberg added.

Crimo's father owns a local coffee shop and pantry.

Crimo's parents released a statement through their attorney Tuesday, saying: "We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the paradegoers, the community, and our own. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody."

"The parents request that all respect their privacy as they try to sort thru this tragedy."