Father of Alleged Highland Park Parade Gunman Expected To Go to Trial on Reckless Conduct Charges Later This Year

A memorial to the victims of the July 4, 2022, shooting in Highland Park. (WTTW News)A memorial to the victims of the July 4, 2022, shooting in Highland Park. (WTTW News)

The father of the alleged Highland Park parade gunman is expected to go to trial on reckless conduct charges later this year, though an official trial date has not yet been scheduled.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Lake County Judge George Strickland said during a status hearing Friday that he intends the trial of Robert Crimo Jr. to begin sometime in late October or early November. He planned to set a trial date Friday, but instead held off until a hearing next month as attorneys sort out some discovery and motion issues.

“I am going to move you along now, fair warning,” Strickland told attorneys Friday.

Crimo Jr. faces seven counts of reckless conduct for allegedly helping his son, Robert Crimo III, obtain a Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card. Crimo III is accused of killing seven people and wounding dozens more during Highland Park’s Fourth of July Parade last year.

Prosecutors have alleged Crimo Jr. took a “reckless and unjustified risk” in December 2019 when he signed his son’s application for a FOID card. At the time, Crimo III was only 19 years old and could not legally obtain a FOID card or purchase a firearm without his father’s assistance.

Highland Park police had previously had two interactions with Crimo III in 2019. One occurred that April after he allegedly attempted suicide. Months later in September, Crimo III allegedly threatened family members, saying he was “going to kill everyone,” according to prosecutors.

Reckless conduct charges are a Class 4 felony in Illinois and Crimo Jr. faces up to three years in prison per count, though sentences on such charges are typically served concurrently.

Crimo III has been indicted on 117 charges, including 21 counts of first-degree murder stemming from the mass shooting. During a hearing in May, his defense attorney indicated a trial date could be set in that case at their next hearing in September.

Lake County prosecutors on Friday estimated they’ve tendered about 95% of their discovery materials to Crimo Jr.’s defense team, and attorneys on both sides said they plan to file some motions to Strickland ahead of the trial.

Strickland said he wants all motions filed by June 30, ahead of a hearing to discuss those filings July 14.

Crimo Jr.’s defense attorney George Gomez initially said Friday he was looking to go to trial next March, but Strickland shot that down, saying he wanted an earlier date. The judge said he has multiple homicide trials beginning in early 2024, and wants to avoid those and the holidays, which could all delay Crimo Jr.’s case.

Strickland also noted Friday that media representatives have filed a motion seeking leave to record the trial. While he hasn’t yet decided if he’ll allow that, he wanted attorneys on both sides to determine if any possible witnesses would object to their testimony being filmed.

A hearing on that motion could be held in September, Strickland said.

Friday’s hearing comes just weeks before the first anniversary of the parade massacre, which left seven dead and nearly 50 wounded. City officials are planning several events on July 4 to commemorate the victims of that shooting, including a remembrance ceremony at City Hall, a moment of silence and a community walk.

The moment of silence will begin at 10:14 a.m. — the moment the first shots were fired at the 2022 parade — while the community walk will begin at 11 a.m. and follow last year’s parade route.

A full schedule of events is available here.

City officials said they’ve developed a wide-ranging security plan for that day, which will include local police as well as state, county and federal law enforcement.

“The events planned for July 4, 2023, will focus on our community,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said in a statement. “We know that the day will be filled with emotion as we mark the one-year remembrance of the Highland Park shooting. We have carefully planned events and activities that will allow our community the time and space to remember the seven individuals who were taken from us too soon, opportunities to gather and connect, and provide us with the chance to celebrate Independence Day together as we create new traditions and memories.”

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors