Authorities have not ruled out criminal charges against the father of alleged Highland Park gunman Robert Crimo III – as his parents retained a new attorney late Thursday.
State Police Director Brendan Kelly told reporters that the accused gunman’s father, Robert Crimo Jr., faces potential civil liability as the criminal investigation continues into the Fourth of July shooting that slaughtered seven people in the Chicago suburb.
“There’s probably going to be civil litigation. There is ongoing criminal prosecution and criminal investigation,” he said Wednesday, NBC reported.
“Issues of culpability, liability, who may have responsibility in certain circumstances, are all part and parcel of that process. Making a conclusionary statement, the Illinois State Police, weighing in on that, is not appropriate,” he said, adding that the matter would ultimately be decided in court.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said he didn’t want to comment on the prospect Wednesday when asked if investigators are mulling possible criminal charges against Crimo’s family.
Crimo, a 21-year-old wannabe rapper, threatened “everyone” in his family in September 2019, prompting cops to remove a dagger, sword and 16 knives from his home, Illinois State Police said.
Three months later, Crimo Jr., sponsored his son when he applied for a firearm owner’s identification card – or FOID.
In Illinois, gun buyers under 21 must have a parent or guardian sponsor the application and sign an affidavit stating they’re allowing the buy and agree to be held liable for “any damages” resulting from the applicant’s use of firearms.
Crimo Jr. sponsored the application after his son was deemed a “clear and present” danger by authorities. He downplayed the 2019 incident as a “childish outburst” during an interview with The Post Wednesday.
Crimo Jr. said he backed his son’s application – allowing him to buy the AR-15 allegedly used in the attack – since he thought his son was going to use it at a shooting range.
“He bought everything on his own, and they’re registered to him,” Crimo Jr. said of son’s weapons while insisting he had zero involvement in the massacre. “You know, he drove there, he ordered them, he picked them up, they did his background check on each one.”
Crimo Jr. told The Post he was “furious” in the aftermath of the July Fourth massacre.
“I want a long sentence,” he said while noting consequences for his son’s actions.
“He made a choice,” Crimo Jr. continued. “He didn’t have to do that. I think there’s mental illness there, obviously. … I didn’t see a lot of it.”
Crimo Jr. had hired one of R. Kelly’s attorneys to fight claims he helped his son buy guns, but Steven Greenberg announced on Twitter late Thursday he was no longer representing him and wife Denise Pesina — citing an unspecified conflict.
“I remain hopeful that at some point this terrible tragedy will result in meaningful change,” Greenberg wrote.
The couple’s new attorney, George Gomez, downplayed the possibility of criminal charges being filed against them when reached by The Post early Friday.
“At this moment, we’re not concerned about any type of criminal charges,” Gomez said during a brief interview. “The family is cooperating with local and federal authorities.”
Gomez declined further comment while saying “things are in the works” without elaborating.
But some legal experts believe charges against the couple could be on the table, including an attorney whose firm has represented many mass shooting victims, CBS Chicago reported.
“If the state doesn’t press charges, then they’re admitting that whole statute is a sham,” attorney Stephan Blandin said Crimo Jr.’s FOID sponsorship.
Blandin said he believes there’s a case against Crimo Jr., but believes prosecutors may be hesitant to file charges since gun issues are highly political, CBS Chicago reported.
Asked if Pesina could also be held criminally liable, Blandin stopped short of putting her in her in the same jeopardy as her husband.
“I’m quite positive that there are a number of individuals, who live in that neighborhood, who have information about what took place in the days and weeks and months leading up to this; and that that will come out and come forward,” Blandin told CBS Chicago.
With Post wires