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 seven and hurting dozens more, police said during a press conference Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, officials confirmed a seventh shooting victim had died.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek on Tuesday identified the six victims who died Monday as Katherine Goldstein, 64; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Irina McCarthy, 35; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78.
CBS Chicago reports Kevin and Irina McCarthy were the parents of a 2-year-old boy who was separated from his parents during the chaos. Strangers helped take care of the child in the aftermath of the shooting, and police have now reunited him with his grandparents.
Toledo was visiting from Mexico, his family said. Sundheim was a staff member at nearby North Shore Congregation Israel, which had previously announced her death on its website.
A total of at least 45 people were injured or killed during the shooting, Highland Park Police said Tuesday.
The suspect, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, 21, was taken into custody without incident Monday evening, hours after the shooting, when someone called 911 and a police officer pulled him over in his mother’s car, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Chris Covelli told reporters.
“We do believe Crimo pre-planned this attack for several weeks,” Covelli said.
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, Crimo 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.
Covelli said investigators believe the suspect used a fire escape ladder to climb onto the roof of a building overlooking the parade route, and that he wore women’s clothing during the shooting in an attempt to conceal his facial tattoos and help him escape.
After the shooting, he left the roof, dropped the rifle and fled the scene with other people attending the Independence Day festivities in the Chicago suburb, Covelli said. Then he walked to his mother’s home in the area and borrowed her car.
“He blended right in with everybody else as they were running around, almost as he was an innocent spectator as well,” Covelli said.
Investigators are still looking for a female witness who they believe saw the suspect drop an item in a red blanket behind a Ross store after the shooting, Covelli said Tuesday.
Covelli also said Tuesday that the suspect traveled to the Madison, Wisconsin, area before heading back to Illinois, where he was taken into custody.
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, 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.
Covelli said later Tuesday that Highland Park police had interacted with the suspect on at least two occasions prior to the shooting. In April 2019, an individual contacted HPPD after learning that the suspect had attempted to commit suicide. Police responded to his home but the situation was already being handled by mental health professionals and not deemed a police matter at the time.
In September 2019, a family member reported that the suspect said he was going to “kill everyone.” Police responded to his residence and removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from the residence, but, Covelli said, there was not probable cause to arrest him. The Illinois State Police were notified of the incident at the time.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said on “CBS Mornings” Tuesday she knew the suspect when he was a boy.
“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.”
Criminal charges are expected to be announced later Tuesday.