HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — The man charged with killing seven people at an Independence Day parade confessed to police that he unleashed a hail of bullets from a rooftop in suburban Chicago and then fled to the Madison, Wisconsin, area, where he contemplated shooting up an event there, authorities said Wednesday.
The gunman turned back to Illinois, where he was later arrested, after deciding he was not prepared to pull off a shooting in Wisconsin, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference following a bond hearing.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon said in court that the gunmam “looked down his sights, aimed” and fired at people across the street, killing seven and wounding more than two dozen. He left the shells of 83 bullets and three ammunition magazines on the rooftop.
The parade shooting left another American community — this time affluent Highland Park, home to about 30,000 people near the Lake Michigan shore — reeling. Hundreds of marchers, parents and children fled in a panic.
Police went to the home following a call from a family member who said Robert E. Crimo III was threatening “to kill everyone” there. Covelli said police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but said there was no sign he had any guns at the time, in September 2019.
Investigators who have interrogated the suspect and reviewed his social media posts have not determined a motive or found any indication that he targeted victims by race, religion or other protected status, Covelli said.
At the July 4 parade, the shots were initially mistaken for fireworks before hundreds of revelers fled in terror. A day later, baby strollers, lawn chairs and other items left behind by panicked parade goers remained inside a wide police perimeter. Outside the police tape, some residents drove up to collect blankets and chairs they abandoned.
A police officer pulled over 21-year-old Crimo north of the shooting scene several hours after police released his photo and warned that he was likely armed and dangerous, Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said.
Federal agents were reviewing Crimo’s online profiles, and a preliminary examination of his internet history indicated that he had researched mass killings and had downloaded multiple photos depicting violent acts, including a beheading, a law enforcement official said.
Foody reported from Chicago; Groves from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Associated Press writers Don Babwin in Chicago, Mike Householder in Highland Park, Bernard Condon and Mike Balsamo in New York, Aamer Madhani in Washington, Jim Mustian in New Orleans, Barbara Ortutay in San Francisco and researcher Rhonda Shafner also contributed.