Highland Park shooter charged. Was dressed as a female

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The 21-year-old suspect in the Independence Day mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois has been hit with the first charges resulting from the attack. The county State’s Attorney brought seven charges of first-degree murder for those who died during and after the attack. He described the development as only “the first of many charges” that will be brought against the alleged shooter. (We have to keep saying “alleged” for now, but there seems to be little question that they have the right guy.) There will almost certainly be dozens of charges of attempted murder to follow. Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011, so the most the state can give him is life without the possibility of parole. But that situation might become more complicated if he winds up being hit with federal charges. (NY Post)

The suspected gunman who opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Highland Park on Monday morning killing seven people and injuring two dozen more has been charged with seven counts of first degree murder, local officials announced Tuesday evening.

Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, 21, was charged with seven counts of murder — one for each of the deceased victims, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced at a press conference.

“Today, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has charged Robert Crimo III with seven counts of first degree murder for the killing spree that he has unleashed against our community,” Rinehart said to applause. “These are just the first of many charges that will be filed against Mr. Primo.”

This will probably take time to sort out. The state charges of murder and attempted murder should be easy enough to move forward. There won’t be any illegal weapons charges because the shooter was somehow able to legally purchase five firearms from five different gun shops. That happened despite the screaming red flags in his background that resulted in the police confiscating a huge collection of knives from him while still not bringing any charges. And unless some sort of associate who helped him commit the crime can be located, there probably won’t be any conspiracy charges either.

So what about the death penalty? As mentioned above, Illinois did away with capital punishment in 2011. But people there can still face the death penalty if they are convicted of federal crimes in parallel with the state charges. That’s what almost happened to Illinois killer Brendt Christiansen in 2017. But the feds would need some excuse to step in. Labeling this as a hate crime seems unlikely since the shooter was apparently picking victims at random, showing no preference by race, gender, or even age. Lacking any sort of conspiracy charge or an interstate angle, there may not be a path to any federal trial.

Another curious detail of the shooting that has emerged is that the shooter was allegedly dressed in female garb while carrying out the attack.

Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, 21, wore women’s clothing in a bid to conceal his identity and his distinctive tattoos during Monday’s slaughter in the wealthy Chicago suburb, authorities revealed Tuesday.

A surveillance photo obtained by local outlet WGN-TV shows Crimo allegedly wearing what appears to be a long black wig as he fled the scene of the mass shooting.

He was also allegedly dressed in a long-sleeve shirt, black gloves and a neck scarf, according to the image.

Based on the early results of the investigation, the shooter allegedly used makeup, a scarf, a wig, and other typically female clothing to hide his distinctive facial tattoos and blend in with the crowd. It’s believed that after the shooting, he wrapped his rifle in a red blanket and dropped it off the back of the building where he had been perched. He then fled down to the streets where he blended in with the rest of the frightened parade attendees who were running away from the scene.

In one of his rap videos, the shooter depicted himself as dying in a standoff with the police with a rifle in his hand. That clearly wasn’t his intention when it came to performing the attack, however. He disguised himself in an effort to avoid detection and identification, hoping to escape with his miserable life intact. Fortunately, that part of the plan hasn’t worked out.