Officials have released statements recognizing first responders and offering words of unity and support after the Highland Park mass shooting.
Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said in a statement Saturday morning that he was attending the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.
He recognized the heroic actions first responders and the community took when gunfire erupted near Second Street and Central Avenue Monday morning.
“[…] when the shooting started, I saw police officers, firefighters, paramedics run toward the gunshots, and we were incredibly fortunate that day to have such professional heroes by our side. I saw everyday members of the community jump into action and aid the wounded. We have an amazing medical community of individuals who bravely hurried toward the wounded and rushed to medical facilities for further assistance,” Idleburg said.
“Without the help from our medical professionals, the outcome may have been much worse. Words cannot even begin to describe all the heroic actions taken place on July 4th as well as the days that came and continue to come afterward.”
Police said that Robert E. Crimo III, 21, of Highwood, was responsible for the shooting.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli said that Crimo pre-planned the attack for several weeks and he allegedly brought a high-powered rifle to the parade.
Crimo allegedly used a fire escape ladder to access the roof of a building on the parade route where he opened fire on parade-goers, killing seven people and injuring over 45 people. Over 80 rounds were fired from the rifle.
Crimo, who was dressed as a woman, exited the roof, dropped the rifle and escaped with the fleeing crowd before borrowing her mother’s silver 2010 Honda Fit, according to Covelli.
Idleburg called Crimo a “calculated coward” and hopes he “never sees the outside of a prison cell for the rest of his life.”
“As a society, so many have become numb to mass shootings as we read about them nearly every day. Then, on Independence Day, when our families, our children, our friends, were gathered along parade routes to celebrate this nation’s independence a calculated coward unleashed unprecedented terror on our community with a weapon of war,” Idleburg said.
“I truly hope this is the last mass shooting we live through before assault-style rifles are banned. Assault-style rifles are nothing more than killing machines, and they have no place in a civilized society. It is time action is taken. While the intent of my message is not meant to be political, I feel the most significant action that can be taken to minimize and prevent further carnage is by enacting a full ban on assault-style rifles.”
“To the City of Highland Park and all of those impacted by this senseless terror – we will be with you as you heal. We are with you forever. You are Highland Park Strong,” Idleburg added.
City officials also released a statement Saturday afternoon.
They thanked their government partners who provided support during and after the shooting.
“As a City, we have experienced a profound sense of gratitude for all those who have come together to support us, from artists creating inspiring chalk art to musicians writing songs, neighbors organizing meal trains and advocates planning vigils to businesses from Highland Park and beyond donating food and strangers lending a shoulder to cry on,” the statement said.
Idleburg and city officials reminded the community that support is available for survivors.
A family assistance center opened Wednesday at the Highland Park High School, 433 Vine Avenue.
The FBI’s Victim Service Response Team is working in conjunction with local, state, and federal aid groups to staff the center.
Services provided at the center include counseling, government aid assistance and financial assistance.
City of Highland Park Communications Manager Amanda Civitello said Saturday evening that the family assistance center will be extended.
It will close on Sunday to give volunteers a day to process, rest and prepare for next week.
“Together, we will travel the difficult path of healing, honor the memory of those who were killed, and extend each other grace and empathy as we navigate this unchartered territory. Together, we are Highland Park Strong,” city officials said.
Crimo was arrested Monday evening after a person spotted the wanted Honda Fit as it traveled southbound on Route 41 in North Chicago.
A short pursuit ensued and it came to an end at Route 41 and Westleigh Road in Lake Forest.
Crimo was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder Tuesday evening, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
Many additional charges will be filed against him, Rinehart said.
Covelli said there are no indications anyone else was involved in the Monday shooting.
Crimo confessed to the attack and told investigators that he had contemplated committing a second attack in Wisconsin.
He remains held in the Lake County Jail after Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered him held without bond Wednesday morning.