1 of 2 | An aerial photo shows an American flag at half-staff as law enforcement officers investigated the scene of a mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., on July 5, 2022. Robert Crimo Jr., the father of the alleged gunmen, pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor counts on Monday. File Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The father of a man who gunned down seven people during an Illinois Fourth of July parade last year pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor counts in a court appearance on Monday.
Robert E. Crimo Jr. entered guilty pleas to seven misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct as part of a deal with prosecutors as a state court bench trial was about to begin in Waukegan, Ill.
Crimo will serve 60 days in jail as part of the deal reached by Lake County, Ill., prosecutors and approved by Judge George Strickland. Also under the deal, Crimo Jr. will serve 24 months of probation and 100 hours of community service.
Crimo faced seven felony counts carrying a possible three-year prison sentence after being charged with recklessly signing a firearm owner's ID card for his son, Robert "Bobby" Crimo III, who is charged with opening fire with an assault rifle during a July 4, 2022, holiday parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill.
In addition to the seven killed, the sniper-style shootings left 48 others wounded.
Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said the elder Crimo made the decision to enable his son's gun purchase even though he knew Bobby Crimo, then 19, had expressed violent thoughts and ideations.
"Robert Crimo Jr., the father, made the reckless and dangerous decision to sponsor his son's [firearm owners identification] application," Rinehart told reporters after the hearing. "This wasn't a fishing license. This wasn't a permission slip to go to the museum. This was a permission slip for his son to buy an assault rifle."
Crimo "knew exactly how dangerous it was for this 19-year-old to have weapon," he said, adding that the son's behavior had raised red flags with everyone from this mother and brother to school and police officials.
The United States, Rinehart added, "is drowning in an ocean of firearms" and that the problems intertwined with this "abundance of firearms are simply too numerous to count."
The younger Crimo has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder for each of the seven victims who died, as well as 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for each victim injured by a bullet or shrapnel.
As part of the deal reached Monday, the elder Crimo has agreed to testify if called at his son's criminal trial. Prosecutors have not yet set for date that trial.