Man accused in Highland Park parade shooting enters not guilty plea

Man accused in Highland Park parade shooting enters not guilty plea

Attorneys for Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment in Lake County Circuit Court Wednesday after a grand jury indicted him on 117 felony counts for the July Fourth mass shooting in Highland Park that killed seven people and wounded dozens of others.

During the hearing, Judge Victoria Rossetti informed Crimo, 21, of the range of sentences he could face, including natural life if he is convicted of first-degree murder. Manacled at the waist, wearing dark jail scrubs and a mask, Crimo answered in a clear voice that he understood.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to return to court Nov. 1 for a case management conference.

Authorities allege Crimo, who grew up in Highland Park, climbed onto a store building and fired more than 80 rounds from an assault-style rifle into the crowd along the city’s Independence Day parade route before escaping in the ensuing chaos.

Police said Crimo disguised himself as a woman and dropped the rifle before escaping.

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He was arrested later that day after a police officer spotted him driving in North Chicago. Police have said that following the Highland Park shooting, Crimo drove to the vicinity of Madison, Wisconsin, where he allegedly contemplated attacking another gathering.

Meanwhile, officials in Highland Park, which bans the possession of assault-style rifles and large-capacity magazines within city limits, are pressing for a similar prohibition at the state level. Numerous legislators are co-sponsoring a bill to that effect and Gov. JB Pritzker has endorsed the concept.

Last week, Democratic House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch announced the formation of a working group devoted to firearm safety and reform, saying he wanted “to take a balanced and research-driven approach to meaningfully reform our laws in Illinois.”

Check back for updates.

Freelance reporter Cliff Ward contributed to this story.

jkeilman@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @JohnKeilman

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