The man accused of killing seven show-goers in a mass shooting at a July 4 ceremony in Highland Park appeared in court for the first time as authorities released a new, chilling footage.
Robert Cremo appeared at a 19th Circuit Court hearing in Lake County, Illinois, Wednesday morning via Zoom, wearing a black T-shirt and his long dark hair around his face as he stared at the camera.
The hearing took a short break as there was confusion over whether or not the suspected mass murderer had a lawyer.
Mr. Karimo told the judge that he did not have a lawyer and that he was given time to speak in private with a public defender.
When they returned to the hearing, the attorney general said he had been in contact with attorney Thomas Dworkin, who announced on Tuesday that he had been appointed by Mr Kremo’s family to represent him.
Meanwhile, Cremo’s parents hired a high-ranking lawyer who previously worked with R. Kelly to represent themselves when they released a statement saying it was a “horrible tragedy”.
The 21-year-old was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday – just over 24 hours after he opened fire on show-goers, locals and families with young children.
If convicted of the charges, he faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Lake County Attorney General Eric Reinhart said they are just the “first charges” he plans to bring against the alleged mass murderer in the coming days.
“I want to stress that: there will be more charges. We expect dozens of other charges centered around each victim.”
He said other charges are expected to include attempted murder, severe beating and aggravated release.
Investigators announced Tuesday that Krimo had been planning the attack on the July 4 motorcade “for several weeks” and had amassed a trove of about five firearms.
Sgt. Christopher Coveley, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, said Mr. Cremo, disguised as a woman and armed with an AR-15 rifle, went to the parade route in Highland Park and climbed the roof of a nearby business.
From a rooftop sniper position, officials said, he fired a volley of more than 70 rounds of bullets into the crowd of show-goers and participants below.
Cremo then left the gun at the scene and managed to escape undetected by wearing women’s clothing and a wig.
It is alleged that the suspect, hiding in plain sight of fleeing, panicked show-goers, quietly walked to his mother’s house.
He was arrested hours later when he was seen driving down the highway in his mother’s car.
Sergeant Coveley revealed that the suspected shooter crossed state lines to Madison, Wisconsin, in his mother’s car before returning to Illinois where he was arrested just five miles from the scene of the massacre.
It is not clear why he was back in Illinois at the time.
At the time of his arrest, he was armed with a second high-powered rifle in his car.
In addition to these two high-powered rifles, a search of his home also revealed at least three other firearms including pistols.
The motive for the attack is still unknown.
Mr. Cremo’s parents broke their silence on Tuesday evening in a statement offering their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims of the attack, which left at least seven dead and dozens injured.
“We are all mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a horrific tragedy for so many families, victims, optimists, the community, and our families,” Bob and Dennis Cremo said in a statement through their attorney, Steve Greenberg.
They said, “Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with everyone,” demanding privacy “as they try to settle” the shooting.
The statement came after it emerged that Cremo’s father – who ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Highland Park against current Mayor Nancy Rottering – sponsored his son’s application for his first firearm permit just three months after the 20-year-old threatened to kill the family.
Officials revealed in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, that law enforcement agents were called to his home in two incidents involving the suspect in 2019.
In April 2019, Highland Park Police were called to the house to inform him that Cremo had attempted suicide about a week earlier.
Officers responded to the address and spoke to Mr. Cremo and his parents, before referring the incident to mental health professionals.
This issue was being dealt with by mental health professionals at the time. There was no law enforcement action to be taken. It was a mental health issue that these professionals were dealing with,” said Sgt. Coveli.
Five months later – in September 2019 – the police were called to a report from a family member that Cremo had vowed to “kill everyone” inside the house with a “set of knives”.
Officers responded to the scene and found that Mr. Kremo had 16 knives, a dagger and a sword.
The knives were confiscated, but the officers did not arrest the suspect because the alleged victims had not filed a complaint.
But Mr. Kremo’s father later said that the knives belonged to him and were returned to her.
Just three months after family members reported their son accused of threatening to kill them, Mr. Cremo applied for his first firearms owners identification card (FOID).
Because he was under 21 years old at the time, his father sponsored the application and it was approved one month later in January 2020.
Since then, he has legally purchased at least four other firearms in Illinois.
Officials now face questions about how he was able to obtain multiple firearms legally given his past interactions with law enforcement and his disturbing online presence.
It has since emerged that Mr. Kremo posted several disturbing videos and posts glorifying violence, firearms and mass shootings online prior to the attack.
Six of the seven victims killed in the attack have so far been identified, and officials confirmed that the seventh died of his injuries on Tuesday afternoon.
The six identified victims are: Catherine Goldstein, 64 from Highland Park, Irina McCarthy, 35 from Highland Park, Kevin McCarthy, 37 from Highland Park, Jacqueline Sondheim, 63 from Highland Park, Stephen Straus, 88 from Highland Park and Nicholas Toledo Zaragoza. , 78 of Morelos, Mexico.
It is not clear whether the seventh victim was an adult or a child.
Irina and Kevin McCarthy were a married couple and parents to a two-year-old who would now have to grow up without his parents.
Separated from his parents amid the chaos, the boy is taken care of by strangers so that officials can reunite him with his grandfathers.
GoFundMe was created to raise money for a young boy speaking about the “unthinkable situation” that Aiden now has to “surf through life as an orphan”.
Nicholas Toledo, a 78-year-old grandfather and father of dual American and Mexican citizenship, used a wheelchair and was sitting in it watching the show when he was shot.
Mr. Toledo’s granddaughter told the The New York Times They were “all in shock” and revealed that her grandfather didn’t want to go to the show but only agreed to go so he could participate in the festivities with his family.
Jackie Sondheim is remembered by the local synagogue on the North Shore of Churches of Israel as a “lifelong” devotee and “dear” employee whose “work, kindness, and warmth” have “we all touched”. She left behind a husband and daughter.
Catherine Goldstein, alias Katie, was shot and killed in a Highland Park motorcade while she and her daughter, Cassie Goldstein, desperately escaped the shooting.
Cassie Goldstein told NBC Nightly News that they were enjoying their July 4th weekend together as a mother and daughter after the 64-year-old recently lost her mother.
When the shooting broke out, the mother and daughter ran side by side away from the scene but her mother was shot in the chest and fell.
“I knew she was dead,” said Mrs. Goldstein.
“I just told her I loved her, but I couldn’t stop, because he was still shooting everyone who was next to me. So, I kept running, and hid behind the trash.”
Besides the dead, officials said more than 30 people were also wounded in the attack.
The massacre once again renewed calls for tougher gun control measures to come in the wake of a series of mass shootings that tore families and communities across the country.
In May, 21 students and teachers were killed in a mass shooting in Ovaldi, Texas, and 10 black people were killed in a racist attack in Buffalo, New York.
President Joe Biden lowered flags to half staff Tuesday in honor of the victims of Highland Park and said it showed there was “a lot of work to do” to tackle gun violence in America.