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Father of suspected gunman at Fourth of July parade mass shooting in Illinois is indicted on multiple counts

<i>CNN</i><br/>The Highland Park shooting suspect's father
The Highland Park shooting suspect's father

By Andy Rose and Bill Kirkos, CNN

The father of the man accused of killing seven people and wounding dozens more at a Fourth of July parade mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, appeared in court Thursday after being indicted on multiple charges by a grand jury Wednesday.

Robert Crimo Jr. was charged by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office in December on seven counts of reckless conduct.

His son, Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, who was 21 years old at the time of the shooting, faces charges of first-degree murder for his alleged firing of more than 70 rounds with a rifle from a rooftop during the holiday parade, fatally striking seven people. He pleaded not guilty in August.

Prosecutors allege Crimo Jr. was “criminally reckless” when he signed his son’s application for an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification card nearly three years before the massacre. The card is required to purchase a gun in Illinois.

Crimo Jr. pleaded not guilty to the charges after the indictment was announced Wednesday.

Months before Crimo Jr. agreed to sponsor the gun license, local police received a report that the son had said “he was going to kill everyone” in his family, authorities said, as well as earlier performing a wellness check after the son “attempted to commit suicide by machete,” according to a police report. An attorney for the parents said they have disputed details of the incidents in the police reports.

Helping his son get the card was a “contributing cause to the bodily harm suffered by the homicide victims in the mass shooting,” prosecutors said in December.

Evidence was presented to the grand jury after charges were filed and “they agreed the case should move forward,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a statement.

“Parents who help their kids get weapons of war are morally and legally responsible when those kids hurt others with those weapons,” Rinehart said. “We will continue to seek justice for the victims and prosecute those who endanger the community.”

George Gomez, an attorney for Crimo Jr., called the charges “baseless and unprecedented” when filed in December.

“This decision should alarm every single parent in the United States of America who according to the Lake County State’s Attorney knows exactly what is going on with their 19-year-old adult children and can be held criminally liable for actions taken nearly three years later,” Gomez said at the time. “These charges are absurd and we will fight them every step of the way.”

CNN has reached out to Gomez for comment on the grand jury indictment.

Crimo Jr. sat at a defense table during his brief arraignment Thursday while Lake County Judge George Strickland read all seven reckless conduct charges against him, reading the name of each person killed in the July 4 attack. Reading from the indictment, Strickland said Crimo recklessly performed acts allowing his son “to possess and obtain firearms.”

Following the arraignment, Gomez briefly commented, telling the media, “I do believe at the end of the day Mr. Crimo will be vindicated of these charges. We will turn every stone to defend him every step of the way.”

Judge Strickland set a date of April 4 at 11 a.m. for a status of discovery and case management hearing.

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CNN’s Carolyn Sung and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.

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