HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (PIX11) — Before Robert Crimo was arrested in the mass shooting of paradegoers at a July 4 march, neighbors in Highland Park, Illinois, had noticed the image of a “smiley face” man holding an assault rifle, painted on a brick wall of his family’s home. They found it disturbing.

But the signs of trouble were there a long time. More than three years ago, in April 2019, police were summoned to the family’s house after Crimo, then a teenager, was talking about suicide. In September, the family called cops a second time, telling them Crimo was threatening to “kill everyone.” Police found 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but no guns. And there was no “red flag” reported to the Illinois State Police, the agency which oversees gun applications.

Two months later, in December 2019, Crimo’s father — a former mayoral candidate — sponsored his son’s application to become a gun owner, when young Robert Crimo III sought a Firearms Owner Identification Card, known as FOID. The application was approved.

So in 2020, Crimo bought four weapons legally, including the high-powered rifle that was fired from a rooftop on Independence Day 2022, killing seven people and wounding several dozen more.

“He planned this for several weeks,” Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said at a press conference Wednesday, shortly after Crimo was ordered held with no bail on seven counts of murder.

The Lake County State’s Attorney, Eric Rinehart, said Crimo confessed to the shooting after his arrest.

“He went into details about what he had done, he admitted to what he’d done,” Rinehart said of Crimo.

When reporters asked the law enforcement officials if they were talking to Crimo’s father, Covelli replied, “I don’t want to go into levels of cooperation.”

Parents of young mass shooters have been coming under more and more scrutiny, as the number of these shootings escalate.

Back on Nov. 30, the parents of teenager Ethan Crumbley were blamed for ignoring serious warning signs, before he allegedly used a semiautomatic weapon to kill four classmates at Oxford High School in Michigan.

Prosecutors in Michigan said the teen’s mother, Jennifer Crumbley, had texted her son, after a teacher reported the student was searching for ammunition sites on his phone, while in class.

One prosecutor quoted the mom’s text: “LOL. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

In the 48 hours before Ethan Crumbley allegedly carried out his gun assault in school, administrators summoned his parents to Oxford High with concerns over his preoccupation with violence.

Hours before the shooting, a teacher saw a note on Ethan Crumbley’s ‘desk: “The thoughts won’t stop me. Help me.”

There were also reports that Ethan Crumbley’s parents told him to “tough out” his mental health struggles.

Once the parents heard they might also be arrested in the shooting, they allegedly went on the run.
Jennifer and James Crumbley were eventually found hiding in a warehouse near Detroit.

They were both arrested on four counts of involuntary manslaughter and remain in jail, unable to raise $1 million for bail.

The parents of Robert Crimo III, meantime, haven’t spoken publicly yet, although an uncle, Paul Crimo, said this week of his nephew, “He was a good kid. Quiet. He showed nothing.”