US July 4 parade shooting suspect charged with seven murder counts
A 21-year-old man who allegedly opened fire on a July 4 parade in a wealthy Chicago suburb while disguised in women's clothing was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday, prosecutors said.
Robert Crimo, 21, was arrested on Monday, several hours after the attack on a festive Independence Day crowd.
"There will be more charges," Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart told reporters. "We anticipate dozens of more charges centered around each of the victims."
Police spokesman Christopher Covelli said the death toll rose to seven on Tuesday after one of the wounded victims died in hospital. More than 35 people were injured.
Among the dead were Kevin McCarthy, 37 and his wife, Irina, 35 -- the parents of a two-year-old boy who was found wandering alone after the shooting, according to CBS News.
Covelli said no motive had been established for the attack, which sent panicked parade-goers fleeing for their lives.
"We do believe Crimo pre-planned this attack for several weeks," and that he acted alone, he said.
"We have no information to suggest at this point it was racially motivated, motivated by religion or any other protected status," he added.
He said Crimo has a history of mental health issues and threatening behavior.
Police had been called twice to Crimo's home in 2019, once to investigate a suicide attempt, and the second time because a relative said he had threatened to "kill everyone" in the family, he said.
Police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from the home but did not make any arrests, he said.
Covelli said Crimo used a fire escape to access the roof of a building overlooking the parade route and fired more than 70 rounds from a rifle "similar to an AR-15," one of several guns he had purchased legally.
"Crimo was dressed in women's clothing and investigators believe he did this to conceal his facial tattoos and his identity and help him during the escape with the other people who were fleeing the chaos," he said.
Covelli said Crimo went to his mother's nearby home after the shooting and borrowed her car. He was captured about eight hours later after a brief chase.
He also said the authorities were investigating disturbing online posts and videos made by Crimo.
The shooting has left the upscale suburb in shock.
"We're all still reeling," Mayor Nancy Rotering told NBC's Today show. "Everybody knows somebody who was affected by this directly."
The mayor said she personally knew the suspected gunman when he was a young boy in the Cub Scouts.
"How did somebody become this angry, this hateful to then take it out on innocent people who literally were just having a family day out?" Rotering asked.
Crimo, whose father unsuccessfully ran for mayor and owns a store in Highland Park called Bob's Pantry and Deli, was an amateur musician billing himself as "Awake the Rapper."
The younger Crimo's online postings include violent content that alluded to guns and shootings.
One YouTube video posted eight months ago featured cartoons of a gunman and people being shot.
A voice-over says, "I need to just do it."
It adds: "It is my destiny. Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself."
Crimo, who has the word "Awake" tattooed over an eyebrow, is seen sporting an "FBI" hat in numerous photos and a Trump flag as a cape in one picture.
The shooting is the latest in a wave of gun violence plaguing the United States, where approximately 40,000 deaths a year are caused by firearms, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The deeply divisive debate over gun control was reignited by two massacres in May that saw 10 Black people gunned down at an upstate New York supermarket, and 19 children and two teachers slain at an elementary school in Texas.
The Highland Park shooting cast a pall over Independence Day, when towns and cities across the United States hold parades and people attend barbecues, sporting events and fireworks displays.
In another July 4 shooting, two police officers were wounded when they came under fire during a fireworks show in Philadelphia.
In Highland Park, Emily Prazak, who marched in the parade, described the mayhem.
"We heard the pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and I thought it was fireworks," Prazak said.
President Joe Biden vowed to keep fighting "the epidemic of gun violence."
Last week, he signed the first significant federal bill on gun safety in decades, just days after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a fundamental right to carry a handgun in public.
China's southern island province of Hainan started mass Covid-19 testing on Sunday, locking down more parts of the province of over 10 million residents, as authorities scramble to contain multiple Omicron-driven outbreaks, including the worst in capital Sanya, often called “China's Hawaii”. The number of cases in the province, rapidly spreading across the island located on the South China Sea, has crossed the 1100-mark from August 1 until Sunday noon.
Bangladesh on Sunday sought cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar during a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who promised better trade ties, investment and support for infrastructure development in the South Asian nations. Yi arrived in Dhaka on Saturday evening and met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen. Amid recent tensions between China and Taiwan, Bangladesh issued a statement reiterating its support for the “one-China” policy.
Britain's prime ministerial candidate, Rishi Sunak, has shared that there was “clearly something” when he met his now wife, Akshata Murty – the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy – at a university in the US. In an interview with 'The Sunday Times', the former Chancellor opened up about his family life as he reflected on one of the secrets behind his marriage being the fact that the couple are very different people.
The Chinese military will from now on conduct "regular" drills on the eastern side of the median line of the Taiwan Strait, Chinese state television reported on Sunday, citing a commentator. The median line has never been legally recognised, and is an "imaginary" line drawn up by the U.S. military for their combat requirements in the previous century, according to the state television commentator.
After Sri Lanka's devastating crisis, thousands of protesters took to streets in several cities in Bangladesh after the Sheikh Hasina government hiked fuel prices by nearly 52 per cent, the highest since the neighbouring country got its independence. The Bangladesh government has blamed the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war for the hike in fuel prices. Bangladesh raised fuel prices will trim the country's subsidy burden, the government expects.