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The suspected Highland Park mass shooter once tried to commit suicide, then threatened to “kill everyone’’ in his home while hoarding a huge stash of knives months later — yet was still able to legally buy rifles and pistols afterward, officials acknowledged Tuesday.
Authorities revealed that Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, 21, had legally purchased at least five firearms — including the AR-15-style rifle he allegedly used in Monday’s massacre — after his two troubling interactions with law enforcement in 2019.
Officials said cops were called to Crimo’s home in April 2019 after receiving a report that he had attempted suicide a week earlier.
Officers spoke to Crimo and his parents, but the matter was handled by mental-health professionals at time, said Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli at a news conference.
“There was no law-enforcement action to be taken. It was a mental-health issue handled by those professionals,” Covelli said.
A few months later, in September 2019, a concerned family member then reported to cops that Crimo had made deadly threats against his relatives, Covelli said.
“A family member reported that Crimo said he was going to kill everyone and Crimo had a collection of knives,” Covelli said. “The police responded to his residence. The police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo’s home.”
There was no probable cause to arrest Crimo at the time because none of his relatives signed complaints regarding the incident, according to Covelli.
Crimo’s two prior brushes with law enforcement were revealed a day after he allegedly shot dead seven people and injured more than 40 others at the Fourth of July parade in the wealthy Chicago suburb.
Covelli said the suspect’s confiscated stash of the firearms were purchased by him in 2020 and 2021 — after the 2019 incident in which his knives were seized.
Cops immediately notified Illinois State Police in the wake of the knife incident, but the agency said Crimo didn’t have a firearm-owner’s identification card at that point that could be revoked or reviewed.
Illinois enacted a “red-flag law” — the Firearms Restraining Order Act – in 2019 which allows family members to apply for a court order so that authorities can confiscate weapons from those deemed to be dangerous.
But despite the law being in place for two years, officials said it is rarely utilized.
Illinois State Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback sponsored legislation just last month to try and help educate residents on how they can use it.
Additional reporting by Katie Donlevy