The City of Highland Park has created a temporary memorial remembering the seven victims killed in the Highland Park parade shooting while a permanent memorial is in the planning process.
Highland Park Communications Manager Amanda Civitello said Friday evening that the temporary memorial opened at the Rose Garden adjacent to city hall at 1707 St. Johns Avenue.
The memorial site is a “quiet and contemplative garden,” Civitello said.
The city provided flowers at the Rose Garden and at the intersection of St. Johns Avenue and Central Avenue so community members could lay them as part of a reflection and remembrance.
“We’re still in pain and we’re still very angry this came to our community,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said as she spoke at the garden Friday.
Civitello said numerous victims from the July 4 shooting are still recovering from physical injuries.
A permanent memorial will be planned by the city after it receives feedback from victims, their families and the public.
The plans for the permanent memorial will be discussed next year once the victims are able to participate in the discussions.
Robert Crimo III, 22, of Highwood, appeared in court earlier this month in connection with the mass shooting.
Crimo is charged with 21 counts of first-degree murder — three counts for each victim.
Crimo is additionally charged with 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for each victim who was struck by a bullet, bullet fragment or shrapnel, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The court hearing earlier this month was a pre-trial status hearing and took place in front of Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti.
The Lake County Public Defender’s Office is representing Crimo. Assistant public defenders Gregory Ticsay and Anton Trizna were alongside Crimo in court.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon, who is the chief of the Violent Crimes Unit, said his office has turned over more than 2,500 pages of material to the defense.
More material is expected to be turned over to the defense soon as part of the continued discovery process.
Rossetti set the next court hearing for January 31 for another case management conference after Trizna said it would take time to review the material due to the volume of the documents.
A trial has not been scheduled yet. Crimo, who was handcuffed, flashed what appeared to be a peace sign as he stood up to leave at the end of the hearing.
In late July, prosecutors presented their case to a Lake County grand jury and the jury returned the 117-count indictment against Crimo, who pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart previously said that the first-degree murder charges will lead to a mandatory life sentence should Crimo be convicted.
In July, during a bond hearing, Dillon said that the ATF conducted an e-trace of the rifle used in the shooting to track it to Crimo.
Law enforcement officers familiar with Crimo identified him after reviewing surveillance video.
Crimo confessed to the shooting during an interview at the Highland Park Police Department and admitted to dressing up as a woman to disguise himself, Dillon said.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli said that Crimo pre-planned the attack for several weeks.
Covelli said that Crimo used a fire escape ladder to access the roof of a building on the parade route.
Crimo admitted to “looking down his sights” of his Smith & Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle before opening fire on the crowd on July 4 near Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park.
Crimo said he fired two full 30-round magazines before loading a third 30-round magazine and firing, Dillon said.
Seven people were killed and dozens of others were shot. 83 spent shell casings were recovered at the scene.
The seven slain victims include Katherine Goldstein, 64, of Highland Park; Irina McCarthy, 35, of Highland Park; Kevin McCarthy, 37, of Highland Park; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, of Highland Park; Stephen Straus, 88, of Highland Park; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, of Morelos, Mexico; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, of Waukegan.
Crimo, who was dressed as a woman, exited the roof, dropped the rifle and escaped with the fleeing crowd, according to Covelli.
Crimo identified himself on surveillance video and the weapon used, Dillon said.
Crimo remains held in the Lake County Jail without the possibility of being released on bond.