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Suspect has admitted to shooting at Illinois Fourth of July parade, authorities say

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The accused gunman in Monday's deadly Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., considered shooting even more people. It's one of the new details that we have learned after a bond hearing for the suspect today. Authorities say he also admitted to climbing a rooftop along the parade route, unleashing a hail of bullets. And then he said he traveled to Wisconsin after leaving at least seven people dead and injuring dozens of others at the parade.

NPR's Cheryl Corley has been following the case and joins us now from Highland Park. Hi, Cheryl.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Hi.

CHANG: OK, so we are finding out new information every day about the suspect. What happened during the court proceedings today?

CORLEY: Well, much of this hearing was conducted remotely. But afterwards, Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart just made it very clear that the suspect confessed once he had been apprehended.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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

CORLEY: And Rinehart said they still don't have a motive. But we also learned more details about what happened after the shooting - that the gunman apparently traveled to Madison, Wis., where he didn't plan another attack, but he apparently was seriously contemplating firing on a crowd of people at another Independence Day celebration that was being held there. Authorities say although he ditched the semiautomatic weapon that he used in Illinois, he had a similar rifle and about 60 more rounds of ammunition with him. He also ditched his phone in Wisconsin, which the FBI recovered.

CHANG: And, Cheryl, as you've been spending time in Highland Park since Monday, how do things feel there today?

CORLEY: Well, you know, people are still on edge here. You know, the FBI set up a family assistance center at the Highland Park High School. That'll be open for anyone who may have been affected in some way to come in for counseling. And a lot of people have been coming in with their children. There was one man who had a comfort dog outside, and kids were running up to the dog before going inside. You know, there's still a heavy police presence in the downtown area.

I stopped in at the Ravinia Farmers Market. It's held here every Wednesday throughout the warmer months. Some people there knew others who have been killed or injured. Lynn Barron, a psychotherapist who has lived in Highland Park for years, said she had gone to the parade just about every year it's been held. She said today was her first day really being outside again. She had just put up her Fourth of July decorations. And she just still found it hard to grasp that a shooting had occurred.

LYNN BARRON: And I had the thought, I don't know if I ever want to take these out again. It's always been my favorite holiday. And I don't know if this is going to feel the same ever again.

CORLEY: And many here were just floored that the shooting occurred in Highland Park since it has a ban on assault weapons.

CHANG: Yeah. I am curious about another detail. Has there been any indication that the Lake County state's attorney will press charges against the suspect's father, since he reportedly signed off on the suspect getting a gun before he was of age to do so on his own, right?

CORLEY: Yeah. Well, the prosecutor said that hasn't been part of their investigation. It's typically handled by the state police, not by his office. But he left open the possibility. You know, Illinois has relatively strict gun laws, but the suspect did have five weapons legally, including the high-powered rifle that was used in the shooting. And that was despite authorities being called to his home twice in 2019 for threats of violence and suicide. Police had gone to the home following a call from a family member who said that Crimo was threatening to kill everyone there. And authorities confiscated knives but said there was no sign at the time of any guns there.

You know, at the farmers market, there were several people who knew the father, since he had run a convenience store in the area. And one woman, Pauline Dessler, said she just really felt nauseated talking about the ordeal that the community has been through and that the father should be charged.

PAULINE DESSLER: Well, he has a lawyer, and I think he needs one. Let's put it that way. I do think there's responsibility on the part of somebody - if you knowingly put a gun in the hands of an unstable, suicidal person who has threatened your life and other lives, yes, that should be - you should be culpable for that.

CORLEY: And that's how they feel here.

CHANG: That is NPR's Cheryl Corley. Thank you, Cheryl.

CORLEY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.