The District Attorney for Lake County, north of Chicago, announced that the suspect in the murders during the National Day festivities in Highland Park, was charged on Tuesday with seven murders, equal to the number of his victims. Lake County District Attorney Eric Reinhart said if convicted, 21-year-old Robert Cremo could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. “This is only the first of many charges that will be brought against Mr. Kremo,” he added.
Attack prepared “for weeks”
On Tuesday, police in a small town near Chicago said the suspect in the National Day festivities in Highland Park planned his attack for “weeks” and disguised himself as a woman to avoid being identified. Christopher Coveli, a police officer, said Robert Cremo, 21, used a “powerful AR-15-like rifle” to shoot seemingly indiscriminately at the crowd attending the July 4 parade from atop a store.
“We believe he has been planning this attack for weeks,” he said.
“Women’s dress” to conceal his identity
He said he was “dressed as a woman” to conceal his identity and may have been wearing a long hair wig to conceal his facial tattoos, adding that he then dropped his gun and melted away in a crowd of fleeing people.
The young man shot more than 70 times, killing seven and wounding at least 35, according to a police report on Tuesday. Among those who died were a married couple, Irina and Kevin McCarthy, who locals had brought their two-year-old son Aiden to safety.
Victims “exploded” or “eviscerated” with bullets
On Tuesday, the main street in this affluent Chicago suburb was still closed off by police and kept frozen in the first moments of the shooting. Stroller, tricycle, foldable chairs: The amount of objects left around the scene of the tragedy testifies to the chaos caused by Monday’s gunshots.
Dr. David Baum, a physician involved in rescue operations at the scene, testified to CNN about the atrocity of the attack, referring to “explosive” or “bullet-damaged” victims.
The suspect was under the care of a doctor
Coveli, a native of Haywood, a small town nearby, said the shooter was identified through surveillance videos and the tracking of the gun he legally purchased. He was arrested on Monday. Christopher Caveli said Robert Cremo has yet to explain his action, but that local justice must announce the charges against him Tuesday night.
According to the policeman, the young man attempted suicide in April 2019 and was followed by a doctor. In September 2019, officers intervened at the family’s home after a report warned that he would “kill everyone”. Then the police seized 16 knives, a dagger and a sword. Mr. Caveli confirmed that he had not been arrested because he had not filed a complaint.
“Nothing can stop me”
A video posted eight months ago shows a young man in a bedroom and classroom with posters of a shooter and people being shot. “I just need to do this,” the caption read. “It’s my destiny. Everything led me to this. Nothing could stop me, not even myself.”
Archived photos appear on the suspect’s Twitter account in private with the flag of support for former Republican President Donald Trump on his back.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rottering told NBC that she knew the young man when he was a boy in the Boy Scouts. “This is where you have to think and wonder what happened: How did someone become so angry and so full of hate to go after innocent people who are spending a day with their families?” she said.
The city councilman spoke of the “unbelievable grief and shock” that struck the city. “It should not have happened in our small town where everyone knows someone who has been directly affected” by the tragedy.
Paul Cremo, the suspect’s uncle, told CNN on Tuesday that he “sees no signs of what he did.”
More than 22,400 people have been killed with firearms since the beginning of the year
The country is still reeling from a spate of shootings, in which an 18-year-old at an elementary school in Ovaldi, Texas, killed 21 people, including 19 children, on May 24. President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered flags on public buildings to be lowered to half mast. He recently achieved relative political success by persuading Congress to pass a law aimed at better regulating the sale of guns, nearly 400 million of which are in circulation in the United States.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which includes suicides in its data, more than 22,400 people have been killed with firearms since the beginning of the year.