The revelations have raised questions about the adequacy of state “red flag” laws, even as a prosecutor called the system “sound” at a press conference announcing seven charges of first degree murder of 21-year-old suspect Robert E. Crimo III.
Sergeant Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said earlier in the day that Crimo had legally purchased a total of five firearms, including the alleged murder weapon, although he had drawn the attention of law enforcement twice for behavior suggesting he might harm himself or others.
The first case was an April 2019 emergency-911 call reporting that Crimo had attempted suicide, followed in September of the same year by a police visit regarding alleged threats “to kill everyone” he had addresses for family members, Covelli said.
According to Covelli, police responding to the second incident seized a collection of 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from the home in Crimo Highland Park, Ill., the Chicago suburb where the shooting took place on Monday. But no arrests were made because authorities at the time had no probable cause to take him into custody, the sheriff’s sergeant said.
“No complaint has been signed by any of the victims,” Covelli explained.
Later in the day on Tuesday, a separate statement from the Illinois State Police said the agency received a report from Highland Park Police stating that Crimo posed a “clear and present danger” after the alleged threats against relatives in September 2019.
At the time, however, Crimo did not have a “Firearms Owner Identification (FOID)” state card that could be revoked or a pending FOID application denied. State police involvement in the case was therefore terminated, the agency said.
State police also said no relatives or anyone else were willing to “move forward with a formal complaint” or provide “threat or mental health information that would have allowed law enforcement to order to take further action”.
PAST BACKGROUND CHECK
Three months later, aged 19, Crimo applied for his first identity card, sponsored by his father. But since no weapons restraining order or other legal action against Crimo had ever been sought, “there was not a sufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the application for a security card. ‘identity,’ state police said.
Crimo has passed four background checks for the purchase of its weapons, all conducted in 2020 and 2021, well after the 2019 incidents that came to the attention of police, according to state police.
State police said the only offense detected in Crimo’s criminal history during background checks was illegal possession of tobacco in 2016, and that “no mental health prohibition reports” from providers health care has surfaced.
State police said that when officers who attended the family’s home about alleged threats from Crimo in September 2019, they asked him “if he had any desire to harm himself or harm himself.” hurt others”, and that “he answered ‘no'”.
“Additionally, and this is important, the father claimed that the knives were his and that they were stored in the (his son’s) closet for safekeeping,” state police said. “Based on this information, Highland Park Police returned the knives to the father later that afternoon.”
A number of U.S. politicians from both parties have urged the enactment and more widespread application of “red flag” laws, which generally allow courts to issue restraining orders allowing authorities to confiscate firearms from individuals, or to prevent them from buying weapons when they are considered a significant threat to themselves or others.
But Reinhart, the state attorney who charged Crimo on Tuesday, was unable to explain how Crimo could be allowed to legally obtain weapons without the alleged 2019 threat and “clear and present danger” report triggering the charges. state “red flag” measures.
Congress passed a national gun reform bill last month that includes provisions to provide federal funding to states that administer red flag laws.