Highland Park mass shooting suspect confessed, contemplated 2nd attack in Wisconsin

Robert "Bobby" Crimo III is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.

July 06, 2022, 6:28 PM

The 21-year-old man accused of opening fire at a suburban Chicago Fourth of July parade, killing seven people and injuring dozens of others, plotted another attack in Madison, Wisconsin, authorities said Wednesday.

After fleeing the scene of the parade, Robert "Bobby" Crimo III "was driving around, saw a celebration in Madison" and "contemplated another attack," with "60 rounds on his body at that point," authorities said at a news conference Wednesday.

But he "had not done enough planning" and decided not to do it, authorities said.

After returning from Wisconsin, Crimo was apprehended at a traffic stop in Lake Forest, Illinois, Monday evening.

PHOTO: Robert E. Crimo III, a suspect in the deadly mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade route in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., is seen in this still image obtained from a social media video.
Robert E. Crimo III, a suspect in the deadly mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade route in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., is seen in this still image obtained from a social media video.
Robert Crimo via Reuters

"We are deeply troubled to learn the suspected Illinois parade shooter considered carrying out another attack here," Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a statement. "Mass shootings are far too common in our country. The Madison Police Department has recognized this concern for years, has trained for these incidents and has adjusted our staffing of large events accordingly."

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said during a press briefing Wednesday it was "deeply disturbing" that the suspected shooter considered opening fire in Madison.

"I am thankful that no innocent lives were taken from our city," Barnes added during the briefing.

Crimo is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in the wake of Monday morning's mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. More charges are expected, Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said.

There will also be a criminal investigation into the culpability of his father because he sponsored his son's application for a firearm owner identification card in 2019, state police said Wednesday.

Robert E. Crimo III, 21, who is charged with seven counts first-degree murder in the attack on a Fourth of July parade in Highland, Park, Ill.,appears at his bond hearing via video on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, at Lake County Circuit Court in Waukegan, Ill.
Robert E. Crimo III, 21, who is charged with seven counts first-degree murder in the attack on a Fourth of July parade in Highland, Park, Ill., appears at his bond hearing via video on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, at Lake County Circuit Court in Waukegan, Ill.
Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Pool

Crimo, who appeared in court via Zoom for his first appearance Wednesday, showed no emotion as a prosecutor outlined the attack and read the victims' names.

Prosecutors said that Crimo confessed to Monday morning's parade massacre.

Crimo is accused of taking his legally purchased high-powered rifle and opening fire on paradegoers from a roof of a business.

A witness reported seeing an individual with a gun on a building rooftop "scanning the ground with a gun," Assistant State's Attorney Ben Dillon said.

On the rooftop, police discovered three empty 30-round magazines and 83 spent shell casings, prosecutors said.

On Wednesday, Lake County Major Crime Task Force investigators released a photo of a gun that was found in Crimo's vehicle after his arrest Monday.

PHOTO: An image released by Lake County Major Crime Task Force Investigators shows a gun that was found in Robert Crimo III’s vehicle after he was arrested in connection with the Independence Day parade shootings in Highland Park, Ill., July 6, 2022.
An image released by Lake County Major Crime Task Force Investigators shows a gun that was found in Robert Crimo III’s vehicle after he was arrested in connection with the Independence Day parade shootings in Highland Park, Ill., July 6, 2022.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force
PHOTO: Law enforcement escort a family away from the scene of a deadly shooting at a Fourth of July parade on July 4, 2022 in Highland Park, Ill.
Law enforcement escort a family away from the scene of a deadly shooting at a Fourth of July parade on July 4, 2022 in Highland Park, Ill.
Mark Borenstein/Getty Images

Crimo told police he wore women's clothing during the shooting and used makeup to hide his facial tattoos and blend in with the crowd, prosecutors said.

Dillon said Crimo was spotted running from the scene with a black bag over his shoulder, and an object wrapped in cloth fell out of the bag and onto the pavement. The object was a Smith and Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle, Dillon said. 

A second weapon, also purchased legally by Crimo, was found in the car when he was apprehended, police said.

PHOTO: Chairs, bicycles, strollers and balloons were left behind at the scene of a mass shooting on the Fourth of July parade route along Central Avenue in Highland Park, Ill., July 4, 2022.
Chairs, bicycles, strollers and balloons were left behind at the scene of a mass shooting on the Fourth of July parade route along Central Avenue in Highland Park, Ill., July 4, 2022.
Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

Crimo did not enter a plea during Wednesday's appearance and was appointed a public defender.

Crimo was ordered held without bond. He is set to return to court for a preliminary hearing on July 28.

When the gunfire began at Monday's parade, revelers fled in panic, leaving behind empty strollers, overturned chairs and half-eaten sandwiches.

"Bodies were horribly, horribly, horribly injured from, you know, guns and bullets that were made for war -- not for parades," witness Dr. David Baum said of some of the victims.

PHOTO: Community members light candles and leave messages at a memorial site near the parade route the day after a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., July 5, 2022.
Community members light candles and leave messages at a memorial site near the parade route the day after a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., July 5, 2022.
Cheney Orr/Reuters

"The paramedics went quickly and assessed the damages -- saw bodies that were blown apart and put a blanket over them quickly. And then went on to try and help other people," Baum told ABC News. "These are injuries that nobody should have to see."

Authorities believe the massacre had been planned for weeks.

No motive is known, police said. When asked by reporters if the gunman targeted anyone specifically, police said the "shooting appears to be completely random."

ABC News' Aaron Katersky, Jeff Cook and Will McDuffie contributed to this report.

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