Police determined Highland Park shooting suspect posed ‘clear and present danger’ after past threat
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(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) — Highland Park Police Department three years ago determined that the alleged Fourth of July massacre suspect posed “clear and present danger” after a family member claimed he was threatening to “kill everyone,” a newly released police record shows.
The record is part of a series of police documents released Thursday that detail Highland Park shooting suspect Robert “Bobby” Crimo III’s troubled past and family turmoil, including an incident in which he threatened to “kill everyone” in the house in September 2019, just months before he went through background checks in his application for a firearm owner identification card.
The police reports confirm Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli’s revelation during a Tuesday press conference that Crimo was approved for a gun license despite the two troubling run-ins with police that apparently did not surface in his background checks.
Highland Park police, which responded to the call in September 2019, removed a 24-inch Samurai blade, a box containing a 12-inch dagger and 16 hand knives from Crimo’s house that day, according to an incident report. Crimo told the police that he was depressed and had a history of drug use, the incident report shows. He also told the police that he had no intention of harming himself or others, according to the report.
No charges were filed in the incident when his family declined to press charges, Covelli said.
But the incident, labeled “well-being check,” prompted Highland Park police to file a report titled “Person Determined to Pose a Clear and Present Danger” on Crimo, which states Crimo is identified as a person “who, if granted access to a firearm or firearm ammunition, pose an actual, imminent threat of substantial bodily harm to themselves or another person(s) that is articulable and significant or who will likely act in a manner dangerous to public interest.”
According to the record, the “Clear and Present Danger form” was faxed to the Illinois State Police.
The revelations from the newly released records raise further questions about whether the incident should have prevented the alleged shooter from obtaining firearms.
Crimo had already had a police encounter earlier that year in late April, when an unnamed caller reported an alleged suicide attempt with a machete by Crimo a week before, another Highland Park police incident report shows.
The police noted in the incident report that the alleged suicide attempt had already been “handled by mental health professionals” the previous week and that no threats of harm were made by Crimo against himself or others that day.
In an interview with ABC News, the suspect’s father, Robert Crimo Jr., alleges he was not aware of his son’s alleged suicide attempt, but the incident report indicates that both parents were at the location when police were called a week after the alleged attempt. A source close to the matter told ABC News the report is incorrect and Crimo Jr. was not present for the police call.
“I’m not aware — I’m not aware of that one,” Crimo Jr. said. “You know, we live — we live in separate households.”
Despite the two alarming prior encounters, in December 2019, Crimo III passed four background checks to purchase weapons, the Illinois State Police said.
Because he was under the age of 21, his father sponsored his application, and at the time it was reviewed, “there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application,” the state police said.
The state police said that before they approved Crimo III’s FOID application, they reviewed his criminal history and only found a January 2016 ordinance violation for being a minor in possession of tobacco.
Several other police reports between 2009 and 2014 revealed numerous incidents of domestic violence among Crimo III’s father, Crimo III’s mother and her boyfriend, who is not named.
Among the police reports was a 911 call from Crimo III’s mother Denise Pesina-Crimo’s boyfriend who alleged she tried to kill herself, which Pesina-Crimo disputed. In another incident, Pesina-Crimo was accused of biting the caller in 2012. In another incident, Pesina-Crimo allegedly struck Crimo III’s father with a screwdriver.
Several of these incident reports indicate that the suspect’s mother was allegedly intoxicated.
Another police record released on Thursday is a 2002 arrest card for Crimo III’s mother for endangering the life of a child, now identified as Crimo III.
Crimo III is accused of opening fire at an Independence Day parade, killing seven people and injuring dozens of others. The suspect plotted another attack in Madison, Wisconsin, authorities said Wednesday, but did not follow through.
He was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday. Prosecutors said that Crimo III confessed to Monday morning’s parade massacre. He did not enter a plea during a bond hearing on Wednesday.
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