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Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek announced Tuesday afternoon the names and ages of the first six of seven victims who were gunned down at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

(At the same time, Highland Park Hospital officials are making an urgent plea for blood donations. To make an appointment email, DonateBlood@northshore.org)

The six people killed were mostly residents of the Northern suburb. But Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, was from Morelos, Mexico. Yet, Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88, were all from Highland Park.

A seventh victim also died Tuesday at a hospital outside Lake County, Banek said, but officials did not yet release his or her name.

“The Highland Park community, like so many before us, is devastated,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said during the press conference. “It is impossible to imagine the pain of this kind of tragedy until it happens in your backyard. 

“We will continue to come together, as we always do, in hard times,” Rotering continued. “We are Highland Park strong.” 

At the press conference, Sgt. Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force also announced that 22-year-old suspect Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III had interacted with Highland Park police twice in recent years.

  • In April 2019, someone reported to local police that Crimo had attempted suicide a week earlier. Officers spoke with Crimo and his parents but left the matter to mental health professionals.
  • In September 2019, family member called police after Crimo said “he was going to kill everyone,” according to Covelli. At that time, authorities removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo’s possession, but he did not have any firearms or a FOID card, and the police did not have the power to take him into custody, Covelli said. However, HPPD did notify the Illinois State Police of the incident.

Over the course of “approximately one year,” Crimo legally purchased about five firearms in Illinois, including two rifles, multiple pistols and “possibly a shotgun,” according to Covelli. One of the rifles was recovered from the scene of the parade shooting, and the other was found in Crimo’s car when police arrested him Monday evening. Authorities seized the remaining firearms from Crimo’s father’s home.

Covelli reiterated that the attack appears to be random, and the police have yet to identify Crimo’s motive for carrying out the shooting. Crimo is reportedly talking to investigators, and the Lake County State’s Attorney is expected to hold a press conference at 5:30 p.m. to announce charges against the suspect.

This was the second news conference of the day. Earlier officials released more details about what happened the morning of the parade as well as the timeline the suspected shooter had.

Crimo allegedly spent several weeks planning the mass shooting.

Crimo was at the parade dressed in women’s clothing – apparently to disguise himself and the distinct tattoos on his face and neck – and he accessed the roof of a local business by climbing a ladder attached to the side of a downtown building, according Covelli. He then fired over 70 rounds from a semiautomatic weapon “similar to an AR-15” that he had purchased legally from a store in the Chicago region

Crimo climbed down from the roof, dropped the firearm and blended in with the crowd in his disguise, according to the preliminary timeline of events that law enforcement constructed. At that point, he walked to his mother’s house, which was nearby, borrowed a silver Honda Fit and was found by police driving in North Chicago after an hours-long search, Covelli said.

Police found a second rifle in the car Crimo was driving and multiple other firearms in his home, all of which were legally obtained in the area, officials said. Authorities have yet to charge Crimo for the attack, but another press conference is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday where officials are expected to announce formal charges.

Covelli added that they have not identified a motive and the “shooting appears to be completely random,” and no evidence has emerged to suggest the attack was racially-motivated or a hate crime. Crimo allegedly had “some law enforcement contacts” in the past, but no interactions were violent.

“We’re 24 hours in,” Covelli said. “There’s a lot of work to be done here.”

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss condemned the violent and bloody attack and spoke out against the easy access to assault weapons that allows tragedies like this one to occur almost every day in the United States. “It feels as though our society is coming apart,” he wrote to the community.

Biss also praised local law enforcement for their quick response to the attack and their swift decision in partnership with elected leaders to cancel the city’s Fourth of July parade, concert and fireworks display, as Crimo remained at large for almost nine hours.

“White supremacy sure isn’t a new phenomenon in this country, and political violence isn’t either,” Biss wrote in the statement. “But today, white supremacists have digital tools they can use to target and radicalize young white men, who then get messages from mainstream sources that they interpret as encouragement, and furthermore have no trouble getting their hands on military-style weapons.”

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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