Suspect in Chicago July 4 shooting indicted on 117 felonies

Robert E Crimo III indicted on 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 of attempted murder and 48 of aggravated battery.

Robert E Crimo III
Investigators believe Crimo borrowed his mother’s car and briefly contemplated a second attack [File: Lake County Major Crime Task Force via AP]

A man accused of opening fire on an Independence Day parade in the United States has been indicted by a grand jury over the killing of seven people and the wounding of dozens of others.

The grand jury in Chicago, Illinois, on Wednesday indicted Robert E Crimo III on 21 first-degree murder counts, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery.

Prosecutors previously filed seven murder charges against Crimo. They announced the grand jury’s decision to indict him on 117 felony charges on Wednesday.

“I want to thank law enforcement and the prosecutors who presented evidence to the grand jury today,” Lake County’s State Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a statement. “Our investigation continues, and our victim specialists are working around the clock to support all those affected by this crime that led to 117 felony counts being filed today.”

A woman kneels with head bowed in front of a makeshift memorial for victims of the July 4 attack.
The grand jury decision comes amid demands for stricter gun laws in the United States, following a spate of mass shootings [File: Nam Y Huh/AP]

Lawyers for Crimo have not yet formally responded to any of the charges he faces in the July 4 shooting in downtown Highland Park, Illinois. A message left with the county’s public defender’s office on Wednesday was not immediately returned.

The decision comes amid renewed scrutiny of mass shootings and demands for stricter gun laws in the US following a spate of mass shootings. In May, a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers when he opened fire in a school.

Prosecutors have said Crimo, 21, admitted to the parade shooting when police arrested him following an hours-long search on July 4.

Under Illinois law, prosecutors can ask a grand jury to determine whether there is probable cause to proceed to trial. Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public and defence lawyers cannot cross-examine witnesses.

The multiple first-degree murder charges allege Crimo intended to kill, caused death or great bodily harm and took action with a strong probability of causing death or great bodily harm to the seven people who died.

Memorial for victims of the July 4 attack in Highland Park, Illinois.
A memorial has been set up for the victims of the mass shooting, which took place on a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois [File: Cheney Orr/Reuters]

Authorities have said the more than 30 wounded range in age from eight to their 80s, including an eight-year-old boy who was paralysed from the waist down when his spine was severed in the shooting.

Prosecutors said on Monday that the 48 attempted murder counts and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm represent “each victim who was struck by a bullet, bullet fragment, or shrapnel”.

During a court hearing presenting the murder charges, prosecutors said police found more than 80 spent shell casings on the rooftop of a building along the parade route and the semi-automatic rifle used in the attack on the ground nearby.

Investigators believe Crimo blended in with the fleeing crowd to get away from the scene, then borrowed his mother’s car and briefly contemplated a second attack on a celebration in Madison, Wisconsin, before returning to Illinois where police arrested him.

Crimo is due to appear in court on August 3.

Source: Al Jazeera, AP