The gunman who attacked an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least seven people, had legally purchased two high-powered rifles and three other weapons, despite being called home twice by authorities for threatening police violence and suicide since 2019, police said Tuesday.
View the briefing in the player provided above.
Highland Park, a prosperous neighborhood of approximately 30,000 residents located on the shores of Lake Michigan, had assembled for the procession in which the alleged assailant, who was apprehended on Monday evening, employed a high-caliber firearm “resembling an AR-15″ to discharge over 70 rounds from the roof of a commercial structure into a gathering of people, as relayed by a spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force during a press briefing.
At that moment, authorities stated that there was no indication he possessed any firearms, however, law enforcement seized 16 blades, a sharp-pointed weapon, and a long-bladed weapon. Representative Christopher Covelli of the task force mentioned that they received a report to the residence of the individual in September 2019 following a call from a relative who asserted that he was making threats “to eliminate everyone” in the household.
According to Covelli, the powerful rifle was lawfully bought in Illinois during the previous year by the perpetrator. Law enforcement stated that he acquired a total of five firearms, all of which were found by officers at his father’s residence.
In 2019, law enforcement also attended to a reported suicide endeavor by the perpetrator, Covelli stated.
The suspect had planned the attack for several weeks, as stated by Covelli. Over three dozen individuals were injured in the attack. Authorities reported the death of a seventh individual the day following the shooting.
Covelli stated that investigators have yet to establish a motive for the assault or discover any evidence suggesting that he specifically singled out victims based on their race, religion, or other legally safeguarded category. Additionally, the suspect has been questioned and his social media posts have been examined.
WATCH: Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary of the White House, addresses the Highland Park shooting.
The authorities have not pressed criminal charges.
FBI agents searched for additional evidence earlier in the day at the location where the attacker started shooting. Terrified, numerous partygoers ran away before realizing that the gunshots were actually mistaken for fireworks.
A day later, baby strollers, lawn chairs, and various other items left behind by anxious parade attendees remained within a expansive police boundary. Certain residents drove up outside the police tape to gather abandoned blankets and chairs.
David Shapiro, 47, stated that the burst of gunfire swiftly transformed the parade into “disorder.”
He stated on Tuesday while fetching a stroller and lawn chairs, “Individuals were initially unaware of the source of the gunshots, uncertain if the assailant was positioned ahead or behind, pursuing their path.”
This was the time when the nation tried to find a cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together, despite the bloodshed. The shooting was just the latest incident that shattered the rituals of American life, as community parades, grocery stores, churches, and schools have all become grounds for killing in recent months.
Tuazon Ron, a resident, stated, “He started filming when he came back to his hometown on Monday evening to retrieve his child’s abandoned bike and blankets, as well as chairs. He also mentioned that it becomes much more challenging when it’s not just your hometown, but also the place where your friend is leading the parade route in front of you.”
“It’s a regular occurrence now,” Tuazon stated. “We no longer hesitate. Until there are alterations in laws, it will continue to be more of the same.”
Jogmen Lou, the Chief of Police at Highland Park, warned that Robert E. Crimo III, a police officer, had pulled over a dangerous and likely armed individual. Several hours after the shooting incident in the north of the city, the police released his photo.
Law enforcement authorities stated that he was either 21 or 22 years old.
Covelli stated that Crimo went back to Illinois and subsequently traveled to the Madison, Wisconsin region, seamlessly merging with the escaping multitude and disguising himself as a female in order to avoid being caught initially.
In the morning, numerous inhabitants had secured optimal vantage points at a location along the parade path where the shooting took place.
Nicolas Toledo, who was visiting his family in Illinois from Mexico, was among them. The Chicago Sun-Times informed Toledo’s granddaughter, Xochil, that he was shot and died at the scene. The website of the nearby North Shore Israel Congregation announced her death, stating that Jacki Sundheim, a beloved staff member and lifelong congregant, was also killed.
Toledo’s granddaughter said she remembers looking over at her grandfather, who was in his late 70s, and he passed them a band in Toledo Xochil, Mexico. The Sun-Times reported that Toledo spent most of his life in Morelos, Mexico.
“He was extremely joyful,” she mentioned. “Delighted to be experiencing the present.”
Her boyfriend, who was also shot in the back, was taken to a hospital. Xochil Toledo said her father, who tried to protect her grandfather, was shot in the arm.
In the congregation’s statement announcing her passing, it was mentioned that Sundheim had dedicated tireless efforts to coordinating events and teaching at the congregation’s preschool. She had been a part of the staff at North Shore Congregation Israel for many years.
“Jacki’s job, compassion, and friendliness touched all of us,” the statement mentioned.
The Lake County coroner released the names of four additional victims: Katherine Goldstein, aged 64, Irina McCarthy, aged 35, Kevin McCarthy, aged 37, and Stephen Straus, aged 88.
Nine individuals, varying in age from 14 to 70, remained in the hospital on Tuesday, according to hospital officials.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 15 instances in the United States, as recorded by The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University mass killing database, where four or more individuals lost their lives due to shootings. This includes the incident that occurred in Highland Park.
Several smaller incidents of firearm-related violence in the area surrounding Chicago also led to the fatalities of eight people and caused injuries to 60 others over the weekend of July 4th.
WATCH: Authorities identify ‘individual of concern’ for Independence Day parade shooting in Highland Park.
The limitations of the suburb are still enforced, and the case was rejected to be considered by justices at the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. The progressive suburb’s position was promptly contested by a nearby physician and the Illinois State Rifle Association, following the approval of a prohibition on assault weapons and ammunition magazines with a capacity exceeding 10 rounds by Highland Park officials in 2013.
Commander Chris O’Neill of Highland Park Police said that the rifle, which the gunman apparently fired from a rooftop, was recovered at the scene. Police also found a ladder attached to the building.
Bobby Crimo, an aspiring rapper who goes by the stage name Awake, was posting some ominous and aggressive videos and songs on dozens of social media platforms.
A video animation titled “Crimo” was uploaded on YouTube, depicting armies rapping about “walking in darkness.” The video shows a man holding a rifle and pointing it at another man’s body on the ground, while a figure with raised hands can be seen in the distance.
An law enforcement official stated that during his preliminary examination of the internet history and online profiles of Crimo, federal agents found multiple downloaded photos depicting violent acts, including a beheading, as well as evidence of researched mass killings.
The official was unable to publicly discuss the specifics of the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press anonymously.
Bob, Crimo’s dad and a proprietor of a delicatessen for numerous years, campaigned for mayor in 2019, identifying himself as “an advocate for the community.”
Shapiro, the Highland Park resident who fled the parade with his family, said his 2-year-old son woke up screaming later that night.
“He is too youthful to grasp the events that transpired. However, he is aware that something unfavorable occurred,” Shapiro expressed. “That’s rather disconcerting.”
Groves reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as from New York City, where Mike Balsamo and Mike Householder contributed, and from Chicago, where Don Babwin reported for the Associated Press. Foody reported from Chicago as well.