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Mass Shooting Suspect Appears In Court, Facing 7 Counts Of Murder; Prosecutor Speaks After Parade Mass Shooting Suspect Appears In Court. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 06, 2022 - 11:30   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: The suspect in the deadly parade mass shooting in Illinois is making his first court appearance as we speak. And we understand that he has admitted, according to the district attorney who said this in court, to accessing the stairwell to get to the rooftop to carry out this attack, there is surveillance footage.

He has also apparently admitted to firing on the crowd. We're going to keep monitoring exactly what is going on in court. The 21-year-old suspect was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. He allegedly gunned down people at this Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, an annual tradition that so many were looking forward to after it was put on hiatus because of the pandemic.

Joining us now is someone who was at that parade, Illinois state senator Julie Morrison. She represents Highland Park and she was there as the attack unfolded. Julie, we're grateful that you're with us. You were there with your husband, your kids, your grandkids, how are you holding up given everything that you and your family and your community have been through?

JULIE MORRISON, DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR, ILLINOIS: It is just an unbelievable situation. You watch other people on the news and you feel sorry for them, but you don't really relate until it's you. It is extremely personal now. And I'm watching my community suffer and mourn. It's a really painful time for all of us.

SANCHEZ: I'm sorry that you have to go through this and that we're coming together under these circumstances. I would like to get your reaction to the shooter being charged with seven counts of first- degree murder. He's in court right now. According to the DA, he has acknowledged that he fired on the crowd. What's your response?

MORRISON: I'm -- I remember very clearly those nine hours that we waited for him to be apprehended. The whole community was just holding its breath. And I am so grateful that he was caught as quickly as he was, that he's been charged so soon, and obviously, if he is guilty, he needs to pay for this massacre that he masterminded that he planned apparently, and then undertook in downtown Highland Park, our little community that was just trying to celebrate a parade. SANCHEZ: Julie, I just want to update you and our viewers as this is an ongoing arraignment. His bail, the suspect's bail has been denied and we understand that he's facing life in prison. This is moments ago coming from the courtroom. And as we learn more about the suspect, we've learned that Highland Park Police had two prior interactions with him.

In April of 2019, he attempts suicide. And then in September of 2019, a family remember tells police that he wants to "kill everyone," and that he had a collection of knives, yet he was still legally able to buy the military-style rifle that police say he used in the attack. Illinois has red flag laws. And I'm wondering what you would say to someone who looks at this situation and says red flag laws don't work.

MORRISON: So you're speaking to the Senate sponsor of the Red Flag Law. That was my legislation. And I was the chief sponsor of that. And we intended to make sure that when this type of situation happened where we were able to or someone identified someone who shouldn't have a firearm who was a danger to himself or others, that there was a legal and fair way to remove the firearms from that person.


MORRISON: And this is obviously a glaring problem that this situation speaks to that I am going to dig into. There was -- I don't know all the facts set. I will be working with the State Police. We are going to look very closely at the law and the procedure for getting a FOID card and make sure that there wasn't a mistake that happened. And if there was a loophole, we're going to fix that.

SANCHEZ: And just a moment ago, I understand the arraignment has ended. No plea has been entered, but the suspect is due back in court on July 28, so you and our viewers know. We spoke earlier with a legal expert, Shan Wu, who noted that the suspect's father could potentially face charges because he ultimately sponsored his application to get a gun license. That was in December of 2019. After in September, he threatened to kill his family in that same year. Do you think his father should face some kind of legal ramifications, some consequence for that?

MORRISON: Boris, I'm not a legal expert and I don't know criminal law, like so many of my colleagues do. I am sure that if he is supposed to be held accountable, he certainly will be at this point. My community is so tired. This whole state in the country is so tired of having gun violence normalized. And Highland Park is now on the list with all these other communities across the country.

But in Illinois, even where we have strong gun laws already, it hasn't been enough. We obviously need to take up more action. And the community, I've had calls from people, I've run into people in the neighborhood and the community, they're asking for action, they are not going to rest until something happens to keep us safer. And that is the job of the elected officials that you vote for, to make your public safer. And it's our -- it's our responsibility.

So, many times we've had the opportunity, bills have been introduced, bills have been presented, and we somehow continue to put the gun lobby ahead of the safety of our constituents, of the people we represent, and we have got to stop doing that.

SANCHEZ: Julie Morrison, we're so sorry for all that you've had to endure. But we appreciate you coming on and sharing your story and your message with us. We hope you'll stay in touch and we'll follow up with you because obviously, it's a story that's not going away anytime soon. Thank you.

MORRISON: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course. We want to let you know the state's attorney in Illinois is set to speak at any moment following the suspect's arraignment. You see the live pictures there. We're going to take that live and have some analysis on the back end of that.

Also, we're watching this story from overseas. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting to stay in power amid a flurry of resignations in his own government. Will Boris Johnson survive this week? We'll take you to London in just a few moments.



SANCHEZ: Happening right now. The top prosecutor overseeing the case of the suspect charged in the deadly July 4 parade mass shooting is speaking outside the courthouse from Illinois. Here he is.


ERIC RINEHART, LAKE COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY: The judge ruled that Robert Crimo III would be held without bond and that there was probable cause to hold him at this time for seven counts of first- degree murder. We have filed those counts alleging the intentional killing of seven individuals. Based on the information that the investigation has produced so far, the judge found that the evidence was at such a level that he could be held without bond, also because of the fact that it is a mandatory life sentence.

Additional details were developed during that bond hearing. I know there was a pool reporter there for that. I can certainly answer some additional questions about that. I want to continue to emphasize that this is an ongoing and active investigation with all of our law enforcement partners. If anyone has any surveillance footage, whatsoever of the July 4 Highland Park parade, we would urge them to contact the Highland Park Police Department, Deputy Chief Covelli probably has the best phone number for that. I can take a few questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First question. Maybe the father sponsoring this license even after those initial contacts with law enforcement, are you looking at any potential criminal charges with other family members, the parents perhaps?

RINEHART: I don't want to comment on that. I don't want to answer that question right now in terms of what our work continues to be to look at all of the information and evidence in this case.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there any (INAUDIBLE) charge a family member who is signed off on a FOID application for someone who's under 21? Is there a consequence to that?

RINEHART: That is not something that I have done in my administration. It is something I can -- we can get back to you on that question in terms of whether that's been done in the past. I know there was another state in Michigan, a totally different set of facts. We can get back to you on that. But that's not something that I personally -- that I have personally done while I've been the State's attorney.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, the buzz during the state member's statements to police was discussed. Can you please elaborate on that and what he administered?

RINEHART: Well, his statement was voluntary. He was questioned in the Highland Park Police Department. He was read his Miranda warnings, offered attorneys, etcetera. He went into details about what he had done. He admitted to what he had done.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you provide -- can you provide the (INAUDIBLE) any potential motive, any information for that?

RINEHART: No. And I was also asked the question if he said why he did it. We don't -- we don't want to speculate on motives right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just spoke with him. You just spoke with the suspect.

RINEHART: I'm going to -- I'm going to -- refer that question to Deputy Chief Covelli.

CHRISTOPHER COVELLI, DEPUTY CHIEF, LAKE COUNTY MAJOR CRIME TASK FORCE: Certainly, our investigation is gone very much until what happened after the shooting and what Crimo's plan was. Investigators did develop some information that it appears when he drove to Madison he was driving around however, he did see a celebration that was occurring in Madison and he seriously contemplated using the firearm he had in his vehicle to commit another shooting in Madison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know how much ammunition he had at that point that de fired.

COVELLI: Approximately 60 rounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that point he did?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about his motivation? (INAUDIBLE)

COVELLI: His motivation isn't necessarily clear. I don't want to go specifically into what he told investigators. However, he had some type of affinity towards the numbers four and seven and the inverse was seven four.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he leave (INAUDIBLE) to Highland Park and then to Madison all along?

COVELLI: We don't have information to suggest he planned on driving to Madison initially to commit another attack. We do believe that he was driving around following the first attack and saw the celebration.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he got to Madison, will there's something to turn him from attacking, or did he appear to make a decision himself to not attack?

COVELLI: Indications are that he hadn't put enough thought and research into it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you thought about that female witness you were looking for yesterday. What did you learn?

COVELLI: We have not been able to locate her yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know anything about the affinities of the numbers, four and seven, what's the significance?

COVELLI: It apparently comes from music that he's interested in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the weapons? We understand now that his father bought it for him. Have you more information about that?

COVELLI: Yes. So in 2020, he bought four weapons, the weapon used in the July 4 attack, a Kel Tec sub 200, a Remington 700, a shotgun. In 2021, he purchased a Glock 43x. And that was after his 21st birthday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you think he changed his mind and went back from Madison?

COVELLI: I can't speak to why he decided to come back from Madison. There are indications that he didn't put enough planning forward to commit another attack. There's been some questions about the FBI and in their response to Madison evidence technicians in Madison. He did dispose of his phone in Madison, the Madison area, and Middleton. That phone has since been recovered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, is the father cooperating with the investigation?

COVELLI: I don't want to go into levels of cooperation. We're talking to everybody though and working on getting the most cooperation we can out of everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You discuss the long he was planning --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2019, Highland Park notified the state police about the knife incident. Is there not a mechanism (INAUDIBLE) is there not a mechanism for that that should have stuck around? Like why was that flagged for months later, he's getting it done?

COVELLI: I don't want to speak to the state police's protocol or procedure. I do believe they've issued some information about that incident, the information they received, and the decision-making that went into that process. That really solely rests on them. And I don't want to speak to their protocol.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To your knowledge -- to your knowledge there's no -- nothing in their system that whole domino's things --

COVELLI: I don't -- I don't have access to their systems to even know that so I don't -- I really don't want to speak to that. Dana.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want some clarifications. He's little (INAUDIBLE) so this was -- and that was recovered. Does he have to cover on the ground and that was the (INAUDIBLE) or unless there was shooting. There was no rifle used in the shooting recovered on the roof.

COVELLI: So the rifle used in the shooting was recovered on the ground. That's the object that he dropped. We're still looking to speak to the witness who saw him drop an object wrapped in a red blanket or red cloth.


COVELLI: I don't want to speculate on why. There could be a lot of reasons why. I don't want to speculate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he shoot anybody?


COVELLI: All of the shooting was done on the roof.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you elaborate on what weapon he had in Madison, Wisconsin when he decided not to do it?

COVELLI: The Kel Tec sub 200 is what he had in Madison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you find information about what services will be available at 12 p.m. at the High Park High School -- Highland Park High School?

COVELLI: Absolutely. The FBI victim service response team, they're opening their Family Assistance Center today at noon that will be open at the Highland Park High School. It's going to be open from noon to 9 p.m. It's for anybody impacted physically, and emotionally by the events that happened in Highland Park. Tomorrow and Friday, it'll be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and thereafter as needed.

Additionally, personal effects that were on the parade route are being evaluated by the FBI Evidence Response Team. That's going to take a bit of time. The personal effects that were on central between second in Green Bay, those should be available this afternoon for those that want to collect their property that was left in those areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatsoever is the state's route?


COVELLI: The Highland Park High School.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, during the bond hearing, there were some details about how the shooting happened, you know. The fact that he reloaded, can you -- can you sort of summarizing what was said upon hearing since you know the audience was probably there?

RINEHART: Yes. So, Chief Ben Dillon handled the -- Dillon, D-I-L-L-O- N, handled the details of the bond information that was given to the judge. He indicated that from the roof of the store, the defendant fired emptied one clip of I believe, 30 rounds and reloaded a second clip. I believe, empty that clip, I'm not positive, and actually reloaded a third time, and so that those levels -- that those details may change, obviously, as the investigation continues, but that's the information that we gave to the judge today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) wanted to kill everyone in that -- his knife collection. How is that possible in a state that has a strict gun law? How frustrating is that?

RINEHART: So a couple of things. I made these comments yesterday that I think we need to increase our awareness about the Red Flag Law, we can certainly get you the details of that Red Flag Law. We have a little bit of information about that today. When I have said the words Red Flag Law, that's a specific firearm restraining order, we have to get into a little detail there. There's a firearm restraining order, there is also a process to check individuals before they get their FOIDS. So there are two processes of it.

So the Illinois State police -- the Illinois state police -- the Illinois state police manage the FOID process. That's the Fire Owner ID card Under Illinois. The Illinois state police manage that process, Deputy Chief Covelli and I share the same response on that, which is that you have to get into the details of exactly when the information is given to the state police, what is the level of detail that's given to the state police, and then how they deal with that information for the FOID application process. There was never a firearm restraining order.

That's what I have used the term red flag, that type of order has never been -- Mr. Crimo has never been involved in that type of order. That is an order where primarily family members and other individuals can go to a court and ask that somebody have their firearms taken and not be allowed to purchase firearms. We'd be very clear, that did not happen in Mr. Crimo's case, but a lot of the questions had been about the Illinois State Police's internal process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, can we just get your --


RINEHART: It's on a case-by-case basis and it would depend on the individual information that they had at that time. And to be clear, there were no firearms when they went to the home in 2019. So we'd have to look at some very specific of --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, can we just get your --


RINEHART: There is -- I haven't -- I have not heard anything about -- I have not heard anything about an eighth victim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is another victim that was identified. Is that the seventh victim?

RINEHART: Yes. All right, yes.

COVELLI: That is the seventh victim -- that is the seventh victim. It's a total of seven victims that have passed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, just for Mr. Rinehart. Can I ask you, Sir, just on --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you think that phone falling on the ground points to some past?

COVELLI: I can't get into those specifics to this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, just on -- as a -- as a public safety professional, just your reflections. This is obviously the same type of weapon system that we've seen used in so many attacks across the country. As someone here who's responsible for public safety, just your reflections on that same type of weapon being used in the attack in your community?

RINEHART: Yes. I was asked about my reflections upon the use of this type of -- this type of weapon in an attack in my community, what happens to be my hometown. As I said, yesterday, the state of Illinois and the United States should ban these types of assault weapons. We had this ban from 1994 to 2004 with bipartisan support -- by partisan support, there was a -- there was a ban of these types of weapons between 1994 and 2004. Everything shows that these types of horrifying devastating incidents went down during that time, my position as a public safety professional and as one of the many individuals responsible for the safety of the people in Lake County, we should -- we should have a statewide and national ban on assault weapons.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Specifically did you think it's urgent for (INAUDIBLE) to change the dynamic of the events where you can still need a very magnificent idea.

RINEHART: Of course, he can -- he -- yes, with the arraignment -- with the arraignment -- the arraignment will likely be in August. Just to give you the schedule. The next court date was set as I believe July 28 at the request of -- no, that we asked to move that up to late July. He will be represented by the public defender's office.

They had one of their most experienced attorneys present in court today. They will consult and this matter will be presented to a grand jury or a judge at some point for additional add hearings regarding the evidence to see if he should be held over for trial. Obviously, we predict that or we wouldn't have filed the charges, and an arraignment will likely be in August.



RINEHART: Yes, thank you for that question. The question was, when will the rest of the charges be presented? Yesterday, I refer to the fact that there will be additional charges, many more charges against this defendant because so many people were hurt. For each individual who was hurt, people can anticipate an attempted murder charge, as well as an aggravated battery with a firearm charge. All of those are class X felonies, which have obviously serious prison time associated with them.

But other people were attempted to be murdered, people who were not shot. So there are many different charges that we are reviewing with respect to the other individuals who have sadly been injured by this, frankly, who were present on the scene they were shot at, that may also constitute an attempt murder charge. Every time he fires a bullet at an individual he is committing aggravated discharge of a weapon, whether he hit someone or not. There will be many, many more charges coming in the coming weeks. I don't want to say for sure. But I wouldn't anticipate all of those charges being presented at one time in late July.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this -- is this shooting exposes then a gap in the state's gun laws? Yes, the prosecutor, you -- I'm curious what your thoughts are here. Here's somebody that clearly shouldn't have had a gun. There were problems even if the laws worked as designed, who still got a gun.

RINEHART: Well, yes, the gap in the state's gun laws would be that we don't ban assault weapons so, yes. With respect to the red flag laws, you have to look at the individual -- you have to look at it on a case-by-case basis when the information is inputted to people who are working on all types of public safety issues and how that information is stored, how that information is flagged later. But with respect to -- but with respect to holes in gun laws, we need an assault weapon ban and we need to make sure that the community, we need to make sure that law enforcement is using the Red Flag Law, the firearm restraining order laws.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do they -- for the one that's confiscated that 90 knives, (INAUDIBLE) would he be able to find guns following the roof?

RINEHART: So it was -- great question. The question was, how do the 19 Knives when you confiscate 19 knives, how does that affect some of the -- some of the procedures that we've been talking about? Many of these questions will have to be answered by the Illinois State Police only because the internal FOID process is set by administrative regulations and it's set by internal ISP procedures in terms of getting what's called the FOID card in Illinois. That's the Fire Owner ID card.

And so again, it's on a case-by-case basis with respect to what they knew. But in that case, there had no -- but there had not been any firearms confiscated or -- that's what I know right now. But the Illinois state police are going to have to answer those questions regarding their internal process.



RINEHART: It would -- it would -- yes, it would depend on the details of what was being said about knives, whether anything was being said about firearms. I have not seen that individual police report yet from 2019.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, on the prosecution, can you just say the director of the FBI just spoke moments ago about this, FBI Director Christopher Wray. He said that federal charges could come in this case and that obviously his agents are working with your team. Obviously, you're the lead, but can you talk about your discussions with federal officials as well about possible federal charges here?

RINEHART: Yes, thank you very much. The question was to go through some of the discussions with federal officials. U.S. Attorney John Lausch and I -- L A U S C H, John Lausch, he and I are talking every few hours, he and I were both present at the command post and at the Highland Park Police Department throughout July 4 and July 5. U.S. Attorney Lausch and I were also present yesterday at a press conference and we're talking every few hours as I said. We are constantly evaluating the information. Much of the information is digital, much of it is -- has to be evaluated, you know with a lot of detail, right, with a lot of precision.

The FBI is analyzing that information and I -- and I would refer you either to Director Wray or U.S. Attorney Lausch with respect to the timing of any -- of any federal charges. We are working with them constantly. Our cybercrime lab is in constant contact with FBI agents and we are all working together. It's obviously all hands on deck as we continue to evaluate this act of investigation. (CROSSTALK)


COVELLI: I don't want to get into specifics about what he said in the interview and what he didn't say in the interview or what he admitted to in that. But what investigative leads have thus turned up is that while he was driving and he located this celebration occurring in the Madison area, he contemplated another attack with the firearm he had in his car. His cellphone was dumped in the 6500 block of University Avenue in Middleton. That was recovered yesterday by the FBI. And it's being processed right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did he go to Madison?