Police: Parade suspect planned attack for weeks, disguised himself as woman

FAN Editor

Authorities believe the suspected gunman in the deadly shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, planned the attack several weeks in advance. The suspect wore women’s clothing as a disguise and blended into the crowd after allegedly attacking paradegoers from a rooftop, killing six and hurting dozens more, police said during a press conference Tuesday.

Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, 21, was taken into custody without incident Monday evening hours after the shooting when a police officer spotted his mother’s car, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Chris Covelli told reporters. He said authorities would provide more information later Tuesday.

“We do believe Crimo pre-planned this attack for several weeks,” Covelli said.

Nicolas Toledo, who was in his late 70s and visiting from Mexico, was among the victims, his family said. Also killed was Jacki Sundheim, a staff member at nearby North Shore Congregation Israel, which announced her death on its website.

Investigators are speaking with the suspect, but they haven’t uncovered a motive for the shooting, Covelli said. “The shooting appears to be completely random,” he said.

Based on information investigators have so far uncovered, the suspect bought the high-powered rifle used in the attack legally in Illinois, Covelli said. Police say more than 70 rounds were fired during the shooting.

The suspect used a fire escape ladder to climb onto the roof of a building overlooking the parade route, Covelli said. The suspect wore women’s clothing during the shooting, and investigators believe he did that to conceal his facial tattoos and help him escape, Covelli said.

After the shooting, the suspect left the roof, dropped the rifle and fled the scene with other people attending the Independence Day festivities in the Chicago suburb, Covelli said. He walked to his mother’s home in the area and borrowed her car, Covelli said.

“He blended right in with everybody else as they were running around, almost as he was an innocent spectator as well,” Covelli said.

After authorities released a description of the car, an “alert member of the community” who saw the vehicle on the road called 911, Covelli said. A North Chicago police officer then saw the car, waited for backup and pulled the vehicle over, taking the suspect into custody and finding a second rifle in the car. Authorities believe the suspect also bought that weapon legally, and they found other legally purchased firearms at his home, Covelli said.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said on “CBS Mornings” Tuesday she knew the suspect when he was a boy.

Highland Park mayor provides update on deadly Fourth of July shooting 05:55

“I was his Cub Scout pack leader,” she said. “… My heart breaks for everybody in this town. I’m not sure what happened to him to compel him to commit this kind of evil in his hometown, but we have a city that is in deep mourning today, and we are going to take a long time to heal from all of this.”

Rotering told CBS Chicago she expected criminal charges to be announced Tuesday.

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