Father of accused Highland Park shooter begins serving sentence

By Gregory Harutunian for Chronicle Media

Robert Crimo Jr. wears a T-shirt reading, “I’m a political pawn,” as he arrives Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Lake County Courthouse. (AP pool photo by Nam Y. Huh)

Robert Crimo Jr. pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct Nov.6, as part of an agreement tendered by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office that avoided a trial. He also requested that Lake County Circuit Court Judge George D. Strickland allow him to begin his jail term Nov. 15, which was granted.

His defense attorney, George Gomez, when asked repeatedly throughout the pre-trial hearing process whether his client felt the charges were politically motivated, he refused to answer. The answer finally came when Crimo Jr. came appeared in court Wednesday, Nov. 15, to begin his sentence.

The father of the alleged Highland Park Fourth of July parade shooter arrived wearing a white T-shirt with the words, “I’m a political pawn” printed on the front, and “Law, Facts, Reality,” printed on the back. Strickland has previously issued a notice on court decorum, specifically citing a ban on shirt messages.

Crimo Jr. turned the shirt inside out, prior to entering the courtroom to surrender. It prompted Strickland to warn him about a “contempt of court” citation, if such incidents continued. Gomez said he “didn’t know the meaning,” of his client’s shirt.

In surrendering to authorities, he will serve 60 days in jail, followed by two years of probation, complete 100 hours of community service, and pay a $25,000 fine. His sentence can be reduced by half the length, with good behavior. At the end of the probationary period, he could also file to expunge the conviction under the first-offense policy initiated this year.

Crimo Jr. was originally indicted by the county grand jury in December 2022, on seven felony counts of reckless conduct stemming from his son’s actions last year. Robert Crimo III is accused of killing seven people and injuring 48 others in a sniper-shooting attack during Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade. He is slated for trial at the Lake County Courthouse next month.

In April 2019, law enforcement agencies were called to the residence of Crimo Jr.’s brother, where the younger Crimo threatened to kill himself and his family. Police confiscated 16 knives and one samurai sword. No arrests were made. In December 2019, Crimo Jr. signed an affidavit in sponsoring his son to obtain a state of Illinois firearm owner’s identification card, as a minor.

Prosecutors argued that the father had knowledge that his son had “mental issues.” They also stated the statute of limitations had not expired.

The county’s indictments were based on a Michigan High school shooting in November 2021, where the parents of a student with “mental issues” were charged with involuntary manslaughter. The parents are now facing separate trials in the matter.

Gomez said that Crimo Jr. accepted the plea negotiations to allow his son to have a fair trial, not see his family “torn apart in a public spectacle,” and “not force the citizens of Highland Park to relive the tragic events.”