Suspect shot at July 4 parade pleads not guilty

Suspect shot at July 4 parade pleads not guilty

CHICAGO (AP) — A man’s father has been charged in the shooting deaths of seven people At the Fourth of July parade in suburban Chicago She entered a not guilty plea Thursday to charges she helped her son get a gun license three years before the attack.

Robert Cremo Jr.’s not guilty plea in a county court in Waukegan, north of Highland Park, came a day after the shooting last year. A grand jury indicted the 58-year-old Seven counts of reckless conduct – one count for each person killed.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison.

Cremo, who was free on bail, sat at a defense table in a tie and gray suit during his brief testimony, nodding occasionally as Judge George Strickland spoke and read the indictment, which named each of the victims. The next court date was scheduled for April 4.

Prosecutors said the father helped his son, Robert Cremo III, get a gun license years before the shooting, despite the then-19-year-old’s threats of violence.

Robert Cremo Jr. was Arrested in December, also on seven felony counts reckless behavior, One for each person killed. The longtime Highland Park resident and well-known figure was released after his arrest on $50,000 bond.

In a brief statement from his office Wednesday, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said the grand jury agreed the case against the father should proceed.

“Parents who help their children obtain weapons of war are morally and legally responsible when those children injure others with those weapons,” Rinehart said.

George M. Gomez, the father’s Chicago-area attorney, previously called the allegations against his client “baseless and without precedent.”

Rinehart said the charges against the father are based on his sponsorship of his son’s application for a gun license in December 2019. Authorities say Robert Cremo III tried to kill himself with a knife in April 2019 and was accused of making threats by a family member in September 2019. “to kill everyone”

“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenagers should have weapons,” Rinehart said after the father’s arrest. “In this case, the system failed when Robert Cremo Jr. sponsored his son. He knew what he knew and signed the form anyway.”

Authorities say Illinois State Police reviewed the boy’s gun license application and found no reason to deny it because he has no arrests, no criminal record, no serious mental health issues, no orders of protection and no other conduct that would disqualify him. will do

This is what legal experts have said It’s rare for an alleged shooter’s parent or guardian to face charges — partly because such allegations are difficult to prove.

In one notable exception, a Michigan prosecutor in 2021 filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of a teenager accused of fatally shooting four students at his high school. A The trial date has been delayed When state appellate courts consider an appeal.

A grand jury Robert Cremo was the third indicted in July Charged with 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, the attack on the Highland Park holiday parade left seven dead and dozens injured.

Robert Cremo Jr. has appeared at several of his son’s pretrial hearings, nodding in greeting as his son entered the courtroom in chains by guards. Dad is a familiar face around Highland Park, where he was once a mayoral candidate and ran a convenience store.


Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at @mtarm.

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