Alleged 4th Of July Shooter ‘Seriously Contemplated’ Another Mass Shooting Hours Later, Police Say


A 21-year-old man has confessed to carrying out a deadly mass shooting at a Chicago-area Fourth of July parade, according to local authorities, who said the defendant also thought about committing a second shooting later that same day near Madison, Wisconsin.

Key Facts

Robert Crimo III—who was arrested Monday—“admitted to what he had done” during an interview with police in Highland Park, Illinois, which was the site of the shooting, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said at a press conference Wednesday.

After the Highland Park shooting, Crimo drove more than 100 miles to the Madison area, where he spotted another celebration and “seriously contemplated” also shooting up that event, Sgt. Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force said.

Covelli said Crimo had a gun and roughly 60 rounds of ammunition in his car while driving around Madison, but apparently decided against carrying out a second attack because he “hadn’t put enough thought and research into it.”

A local judge ordered Crimo to be held without bond Wednesday, Rinehart said.

What To Watch For

Prosecutors have charged Crimo with seven counts of first-degree murder, and Rinehart said Tuesday he expects to file dozens of additional charges. If convicted of the murder counts, Crimo faces life in prison, according to Rinehart.

What We Don’t Know

Crimo’s alleged motivation for shooting up a July 4 event isn’t clear, but Covelli said he had “some type of affinity towards the numbers four and seven, and [the] inverse was seven-four”—a fixation that came from “music that he’s interested in.”

Key Background

Seven people were killed and more than 30 were injured during the shooting in downtown Highland Park on Monday. Police say Crimo stood atop a building and shot paradegoers using an AR-15-style rifle that he purchased legally, before fleeing by blending into the crowd. He was arrested more than eight hours later following a brief pursuit with police. Authorities say they had two prior interactions with Crimo: One when Crimo attempted suicide in April 2019, and another five months later, when a family member reported that Crimo said he was going to “kill everyone.” During the second interaction, police say they removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo’s home, but didn’t arrest him due to a lack of probable cause.