I-TEAM: Accused parade shooter seen as ‘clear and present danger’ but allowed to buy weapons

New documents revealed that police previously had made contact with the 21-year-old man accused in the attack at a 4th of July parade in Illinois and even considered him a “clear and present danger.”

On Wednesday, new documents revealed that police previously had made contact with the 21-year-old man accused in the attack at a 4th of July parade in Illinois and even considered him a “clear and present danger.”

Wednesday, a judge ordered Robert Crimo III to stay in jail without bond.

Investigators said Crimo planned the attack for weeks and confessed after his arrest, even saying he almost opened fire at a second event in another city.

“He did see a celebration occurring in Madison and her seriously contemplated using the firearm in his vehicle to commit another shooting in Madison,” Lake County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Chief Chris Covelli said.

The I-TEAM has learned there were problems long before the shooting.

Highland Park police went to Crimo’s home in April 2019 for an attempted suicide.

In September 2019, officers returned after a family member reported he said he was going to kill everyone. Authorities seized 16 knives, a dagger and a sword and submitted a “clear and present danger” report to the state as part of the red flag laws.

However, in December 2019, the state approved the then 19-year-old for an Illinois gun owners identification card, his father signed off on the paperwork.

That paved the way for him to legally buy the guns used in the attack.

“The background check process is very important,” said Rico Prado, a retired counterterrorism supervisor with the Central Intelligence Agency. “And you know, if I buy a gun tomorrow, they still do a background check on me, even though I have my credentials, right? Because that’s the way it should be.”

Prado is a St. Johns County based security consultant and trainer who wrote the book “Black Ops: The Life of a Shadow Warrior.” He said parents and guardians should also be held responsible if they are negligent or complicit in attacks. That would include helping shooters get access to weapons, whether intentionally or through lack of oversight.

He said mental health must be addressed and taken seriously.

“Just like in terrorism, that lone operator concept is very lethal,” Prado said. “Because, you know, if you belong to Qaeda, you belong to Ms. 13, or something like that, you know, the police are monitoring those kinds of individuals, but these kinds of individuals who just sit there in their basement with these crazy ideas, they’re the ones that are doing the damage.”

That’s why he says the responsibility lies on more than just police and those who see something suspicious must report it immediately.


About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.