LAKE COUNTY, IL — The gunman accused of slaughtering seven people and injuring more than 40 others in the Highland Park Fourth of July parade mass shooting appeared in court Wednesday for the first time.

Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, 21, who is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, looked eerily calm as he appeared virtually from the Lake County jail.

It was Crimo’s first live public appearance since he allegedly climbed onto the roof of a business in the wealthy Chicago suburb on Monday and firing 70 rounds from his legally purchased high-powered rifle.

Crimo, who allegedly planned the attack for weeks, donned women’s clothing so he could blend in with the fleeing crowd as he made his escape, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon told the court.

The suspect allegedly told investigators he “dressed up like a girl and covered his tattoos” because he knew people would recognize him, Dillon said.

Robert Crimo in his mugshot
Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, 21, was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder over Monday’s mass shooting in Highland Park.
First responders take away victims from the scene of the mass shooting.
Crimo allegedly climbed onto the roof of a Highland Park business and fired 70 rounds on the panicked crowd below, killing seven and injuring more than 40 others.
Getty Images

Crimo remained on the loose for hours after “borrowing” his mother’s car but was eventually nabbed about 5 miles from the shooting scene, authorities said.

The mass shooting happened less than three years after police were called to Crimo’s home in September 2019 following reports he was threating to “kill everyone” there, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said.

Police ended up confiscating 16 knives, a dagger and a sword in that incident, but said there was no sign he had any guns at the time.

Authorities had also visited his home in April 2019 after receiving a report Crimo had attempted suicide.

Robert Crimo fleeing the scene.
Crimo wore women’s clothing so he could blend in with the fleeing crowd to aid his escape, authorities said.
Robert Crimo being arrested
Crimo was nabbed by police Monday night — hours after the shooting — after a bystander spotted his vehicle and alerted 911.

Despite his two troubling encounters with law enforcement, Crimo was then still able to legally buy at least firearms — including the AR-15-style rifle he allegedly used in the Independence Day attack.

If convicted on the charges, Crimo would face a mandatory life prison sentence without the possibility of parole, according to Lake County state’s attorney Eric Reinhart.

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