Chicago 4th of July parade attack suspect bought gun legally

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HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois, July 5 (Reuters) – The man accused of attacking an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb bought his rifle legally, fired more than 70 rounds from a rooftop and walked is dressed as a woman to blend in with the flight. crowds thereafter, local officials said Tuesday.

The suspect, 21-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, was taken into custody Monday after turning himself in to police, hours after the July 4 parade attack in Highland Park, Illinois, in during which six people were killed and more than 30 people were injured.

Officials told a news conference he had been planning the attack for several weeks and authorities were still considering what criminal charges to bring. It was not immediately clear whether Crimo had an attorney.

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Crimo has distinctive facial tattoos and appears to have worn women’s clothing on Monday to mask his identity, Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chris Covelli told reporters.

“He blended in with everyone as they ran around, almost like he was an innocent bystander as well,” Covelli said. The suspect fled to his mother’s house nearby and then borrowed his mother’s car.

Officials said they did not know what the motive was for the shooting in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, but had no evidence that there was an anti-Semitic or racist basis. Investigators were reviewing videos he had made filled with violent imagery.

The suspect used a high-powered rifle for the attack, similar to an AR-15, which he dropped at the scene. He also had a similar gun in his mother’s car, which he was driving when he was apprehended by police on Monday, and had other firearms at home, all of which were purchased legally in Illinois. officials said.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said the community of 30,000 was still reeling from Monday’s attack.

“This tragedy should never have come to our doorstep,” she told NBC News. “As a small town, everyone knows someone who was directly affected by this and, of course, we’re all still in shock.”

The US Supreme Court last month ruled there is a constitutional right to bear arms in public in a ruling that also made it easier for pro-gun groups to overturn modern gun regulations . The court has since overturned a recent lower federal court ruling upholding Maryland’s ban on assault weapons.

Congress last month passed its first major federal gun reform in three decades, providing federal funding to states that administer “red flag” laws intended to remove guns from people deemed dangerous.

The law does not prohibit the sale of assault rifles or high-capacity magazines, but does take some steps toward background checks by allowing access to information about significant crimes committed by minors. Read more

On Monday, the streets of Highland Park were decked out in red, white and blue as families watched the annual Independence Day Parade. Children waved American flags while parents and grandparents relaxed in folding chairs.

As the parade began to move through the city center, police said the gunman climbed onto the roof of a business using an escape ladder in an alleyway and then, without warning, opened fire with a rifle storming the crowd below. He apparently fired into the crowd at random, police said.

21-YEAR-OLD SUSPECT

Rotering, the town’s mayor, said she knew the suspect when he was a little boy and a Cub Scout and she was a Cub Leader.

” What happened ? How did someone get so angry, so hateful? she says. “Our nation needs to have a conversation about these weekly events involving the killing of dozens of people with legally obtained weapons.”

Social media and other online posts written by accounts that appeared to be associated with Crimo or his rapper alias, Awake The Rapper, often depicted violent images or messages.

A music video posted on YouTube under Awake The Rapper, for example, showed drawings of a stickman holding a gun in front of another character lying on the ground.

Officials previously said the suspect was 22, but corrected that to 21 during Tuesday’s briefing.

The attack comes as Americans continue the debate over gun control and whether tougher measures can prevent the mass shootings that occur so frequently in the United States.

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Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien, Jonathan Allen, Tyler Clifford and Doina Chiacu Editing by Alistair Bell

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