The parents of Robert Cremo, the suspect in the July 4th massacre in Highland Park, described the incident as a “horrific tragedy” in their first statement through their attorney.
“We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for so many families, victims, optimists, the community, and our people,” the parents said. “Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with everyone,” the Kremo family’s lawyer said in a statement.
The suspected shooter’s parents hired attorney Steve Greenberg, who has represented several high-profile cases, including singer R. Kelly, to represent Cremo and family.
Parents asked for privacy “while trying to sort out” the shooting.
The statement came as Cremo, who goes by the name Bobby, is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, which parents say is likely the first to be brought, and more could follow.
If convicted, the 21-year-old will leave a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Cremo is accused of throwing more than 70 rounds at a Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb with a high-powered rifle.
The death toll rose from six to seven after a seventh person died of his injuries on Tuesday.
“In the courtroom, we will seek the maximum sentence for this offender. Not because we seek vengeance, but because justice and the healing process require it,” said Lake County attorney Eric Reinhart.
Thomas A. Dworkin, a Chicago-based attorney for Kremo, said he plans to file an acquittal on all charges.
He said he only spoke to Mr Crimo once for 10 minutes over the phone and said he would not be able to comment further.
The lawyer said the parents are not worried about being accused of anything related to their son’s case. “There is no possibility that they will be charged with anything criminal,” he said. “They did nothing wrong. They are as stunned and shocked as everyone else.”
Chris Covely, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Squad, said investigators believe the shooter had been planning the attack “for several weeks.”
Coveli said the gunman initially evaded capture by dressing as a woman to blend into the fleeing crowd. He went to his mother’s house.