Jul 7, 2022 - News

How Robert Crimo legally bought his guns

Memorial to the dead
Memorial in Highland Park this week. Photo: Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Robert Crimo III legally bought several firearms in 2020 and 2021, including the one he allegedly used to murder seven and injure dozens more on Monday, according to police.

Flashback: In September 2019, Highland Park police were called to the Crimo family home after he threatened to "kill everyone," Lake County Deputy Sheriff Chris Covelli told reporters Tuesday.

  • Police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword and then reported the incident to the Illinois State Police, Covelli said.
  • But the ISP says just four months later, it granted the then-19-year-old Crimo a firearm owners identification (FOID) card that permitted him to buy guns.

Why it matters: The death threats, knives and even Crimo's reported suicide attempt in April 2019 did not disqualify him from obtaining the permit. Here's why:

  • After the September 2019 incident, "no one, including family, was willing to move forward on a complaint," ISP officials tell Axios.
  • Without an official arrest, "there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application."
  • Plus, Crimo's father, Bob Crimo, sponsored and co-signed the teenager's FOID application.

Details: Though FOID card co-signers are "liable for any damages resulting from the minor applicant's use of firearms," Crimo turned 21 nine months before the attack, theoretically ending his father's criminal liability.

  • Also, the elder Crimo's attorney told the Tribune his client was unaware of the September 2019 incident when he co-signed the application.

Yes, but: ISP tells Axios that Crimo's father actually got the knives back by saying they "were his and they were being stored in the [son's] closet for safekeeping."

  • The elder Crimo's lawyer did not respond to an Axios request for comment.

The latest: Even if the elder Crimo avoids FOID liability, he may not be out of the woods, according to Chicago criminal defense attorney Steven Goldman.

  • "You still have a responsibility for weapons in your home, and if he knew, or should have known, that his son's mental issues posed a potential for carnage, in my opinion, he could be held civilly liable."

Of note: Covelli released more details about the case yesterday, including:

  • The gun was a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle.
  • The suspect reportedly left Highland Park and drove near Madison, Wisconsin, where he contemplated another shooting.
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