HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., July 5 (Reuters) – The man charged with killing seven people at a Chicago-area July Fourth parade slipped past the safeguards of an Illinois “red flag” law designed to prevent people deemed to have violent tendencies from getting guns, officials revealed on Tuesday.
The disclosures raised questions about the adequacy of the state’s “red flag” laws even as a prosecutor lauded the system as “strong” during a news conference announcing seven first-degree murder charges against the 21-year-old suspect, Robert, E. Crimo III.
Sergeant Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said earlier in the day that Crimo had legally purchased a total of five guns, including the suspected murder weapon, despite having come to law enforcement’s attention twice for behavior suggesting he might harm himself or others.
The first instance was an April 2019 emergency-911 call reporting Crimo had attempted suicide, followed in September of that year by a police visit regarding alleged threats “to kill everyone” that he had directed at family members, Covelli said.
According to Covelli, police responding to the second incident seized a collection of 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo’s home in Highland Park, Illinois, the Chicago suburb where the shooting occurred on Monday.
But no arrest was made as authorities at the time lacked probable cause to take him into custody, the sheriff’s sergeant said.
“There were no complaints that were signed by any of the victims,” Covelli explained.
Later on Tuesday came a separate statement from the Illinois State Police recounting that the agency had received a report from Highland Park Police declaring Crimo a “clear and present danger” after the alleged threats against relatives in September 2019.
At the time, however, Crimo did not possess a state “firearm owners identification (FOID)” card that could be revoked or a pending FOID application to deny …