The young man, who was charged with seven murders after opening fire on a crowd during US National Day celebrations in Highland Park near Chicago, was considering carrying out another attack when he stopped before police in the neighboring Wisconsin fled.
• Also read: In Highland Park, a makeshift memorial to mourn the dead
• Also read: Highland Park shooting suspect charged with seven murders
• Also read: 2-year-old loses both parents in Highland Park shooting
Robert Crimo, 21, told investigators he drove more than 200 miles to Madison, where he “saw further celebrations” and “seriously considered using the gun he had in his vehicle in another attack.” , said Christopher Covelli of the Highland Park Police on Wednesday.
This second attack was not planned, in contrast to the first, which had been prepared “for several weeks”, the police officer emphasized.
The young man fired a semi-automatic rifle into the crowd from the roof of a store on Monday, just as the July 4 parade had begun in Highland Park, an upscale suburb of Chicago, Illinois, in which seven people died and more than 30 were injured .
Investigators said he was “dressed as a woman” and wore a wig and makeup to hide his identity and tattoos. He then dropped his gun and mingled with the crowd of fugitives before fleeing to Madison by car. But he had turned around and returned to Chicago, where he had been arrested.
Assistant prosecutor Ben Dillon said he confessed to investigators during a video conference appearance before a judge.
The latter, Theodore Potkonjak, refused bail in light of the allegations, while the defendant remained unmoved from his place of detention.
At a subsequent press conference in Waukegan, prosecutor Eric Rinehart declined to speculate about a motive, but police ruled out a racial or religious motive because Highland Park has a large Jewish community.
Robert Crimo has been charged with seven murders and, if convicted, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. According to Mr. Rinehart, he should be prosecuted on numerous other charges.
He is scheduled to appear before another judge at Waukegan Court on July 28.
Illinois police have explained why the frail-looking young man was able to legally purchase four guns in 2020, including the shotgun used Monday, despite a history of mental disorders and threatening behavior. He was under 21 at the time and was sponsored by his father.
Police said in a statement that they had not received a “psychological report” on the shooter, who attempted suicide in early 2019.
In 2019, after a phone call warning that he was threatening to “kill everyone”, the police also intervened at the family home and notably confiscated 16 knives. The shooter’s father then claimed the knives belonged to him.
Going by the stage name “Awake the Rapper,” he’s enjoyed modest online fame, with some of his songs hinting at the violence within him.
Highland Park residents gathered outside a makeshift memorial outside a church in the town on Tuesday night.
“We are all devastated,” resident Susanna Calkins told AFP. She was lost in “disbelief, but also resignation: these things happen again and again. And this time it’s here, it’s ours.”
Fourth of July celebrations were marred by violence across the country.
Richmond, Virginia police said Wednesday they arrested two men who were planning an attack in one of the city’s parks where several thousand residents were scheduled to attend concerts and fireworks.
The United States has faced a surge in gun violence since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the country is in shock after a series of shootings that killed 21 people, including 19 children, in Texas on May 24.