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Parents of Highland Suspect Issue First Public Statement

  The parents of Robert Crimo III, who has been charged with seven counts of murder in the Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park, ...

 The parents of Robert Crimo III, who has been charged with seven counts of murder in the Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, made their first public comment on Tuesday.

The two-sentence statement was released by attorney Steve Greenberg, who is representing Bob Crimo and his wife, Denise Pesina.

“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 said in a statement.

Greenberg added that the parents were asking for privacy.

However, the family’s history is under a microscope as authorities try to grapple with the shooting Monday, which left seven people dead and dozens injured.

In April 2019, a suicide attempt by the shooter was reported to police, according to the New York Post.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said Tuesday that although police responded to the incident, there was “no law-enforcement action to be taken. It was a mental-health issue handled by those professionals.”

In September 2019, Crimo again came to the attention of the police.

“A family member reported that Crimo said he was going to kill everyone and Crimo had a collection of knives,” Covelli said. “The police responded to his residence. The police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo’s home.”

Relatives would not sign a complaint, and nothing else happened, Covelli said.

Greenberg said Crimo’s parents never noticed what their son was doing online, where investigators have said a theme of shooting runs through some images and videos. One video posted eight months ago showed images of people being shot, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“I need to just do it,” a voice-over said in the video. “It is my destiny. Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself. Is there such a thing as free will, or has this been planned out like a cosmic recipe? It is what I’ve been waiting for in the back of my head, ready to be awakened. It’s what I was sent here to do, like a sleepwalker walking steady with my head held high, like a sleepwalker walking blindly into the night.”

“There weren’t really any warning signs that the family saw,” Greenberg said, according to the Tribune. “They don’t know of any reason why he would have done this.

“These are very loving, caring and responsible parents, and if they had had concerns they would have expressed them.”

He added, “Imagine waking up in the morning knowing that there’s a real good chance that your son that you’ve raised, that you loved, that you nurtured through life, may spend the rest of his life in prison. Imagine you wake up and you have a realization that this person that has taken so much of your life to raise them has done something like this. I think they’re in shock.”

Paul Crimo, the suspect’s uncle, said he shared the house with the suspect.

“I saw no signs of trouble. And if I did see signs, I would have said something,” he said, according to The New York Times. “I’m deeply heartbroken and I’ll be heartbroken for the rest of my life.”

The suspect was a “real quiet kid,” his uncle said. “He keeps to himself and he doesn’t express himself out. He just, like, sits down on his computer. There’s no interaction between me and him.”

Jeremy Cahnmann, who directed an after-school sports program at Lincoln Elementary School in which Crimo participated, noted one memory about the suspect and his brother.

“When the program ended at 4:30, everyone else had their parents or their grandparents or their caregivers pick them up and take them home. And the last kids waiting there every day were the Crimo kids,” he said, adding that the parents were hard to reach.

“It was a common occurrence,” Cahnmann said. “If they needed to get ahold of somebody in that house, they just couldn’t.”

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