The latest on the investigation into the Highland Park July Fourth shooting Here's the latest on the July Fourth parade attack in Highland Park, Ill., where seven people were killed by a shooter using a high-powered rifle.

The latest on the investigation into the Highland Park July Fourth shooting

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Prosecutors in suburban Chicago have filed the first charges against a suspect in yesterday's mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill. Authorities now say seven people were killed and dozens of others were injured, so the suspect is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. And prosecutors say they will likely file dozens of additional charges. NPR's David Schaper joins us now from Highland Park. Hi, David.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.

CHANG: OK. So can you tell us more about the suspect here who's getting charged?

SCHAPER: Well, his name is Robert "Bobby" Crimo. He's 21 years old. Police say he's had two run-ins with them in the past. One in April of 2019 was a suicide attempt. Police were called about a week after it and connected him with mental health resources. Then in September of 2019, they responded to a call in which he was threatening to kill everyone in his family. And police confiscated several knives and a sword at that time, but they made no arrest. Authorities today also detailed how the suspect allegedly planned and carried out what the prosecutor here calls the premeditated and calculated attack. Here is Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli.

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CHRISTOPHER COVELLI: We do believe Crimo preplanned this attack for several weeks. He brought a high-powered rifle to this parade. He accessed the roof of a business via a fire escape ladder and began opening fire on the innocent Independence Day celebration goers.

SCHAPER: Covelli says investigators believe Crimo fired more than 70 rounds at the parade, hitting more than 40 people, using what he describes as a weapon similar to an AR-15. He then left that behind and was able to blend into the crowds of people running for safety afterwards.

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COVELLI: During the attack, Crimo was dressed in women's clothing. And investigators do believe he did this to conceal his facial tattoos and his identity and help him during the escape with the other people who were fleeing the chaos.

CHANG: OK. So, David, he was able to escape initially - right? - and was on the run for a while. And then how was he ultimately found and arrested?

SCHAPER: Yeah. You know, investigators say during that chaos, the suspect walked to his mother's house nearby. He borrowed a vehicle. Police say they don't think that she knew about the shooting. He then just drove off and was on the run for about eight hours. Police say he drove into Wisconsin near Madison and then came back to Illinois. Within a couple of hours of the shooting, police had identified him as the possible suspect and put out an alert with his description and a description of the car he was driving. Again, Lake County Major Crimes spokesman Chris Covelli.

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COVELLI: We're very thankful that an alert member of the community saw Crimo's vehicle traveling southbound on Route 41, dialed 911. An alert north Chicago police officer spotted the vehicle, waited for additional backup units to arrive, conducted a traffic stop. And they were able to safely apprehend Crimo with no injuries to the officers.

SCHAPER: You know, Covelli says the suspect had another rifle in that vehicle, and he had more guns found in his father's home, where he lived. All of them appear to have been purchased legally elsewhere in the Chicago area. Police say Crimo is talking with investigators, but there is no definitive motive thus far.

CHANG: Yeah, no definitive motive. Well, David, I know that you've been in Highland Park for a while today. Can you just describe what is the mood like there right now?

SCHAPER: Well, it's really heavy with sadness. Many people I've talked to here say they remain in a state of shock, and their emotions are just raw. You know, 30-year-old Adam Sherman was at the parade and says the experience was just surreal.

ADAM SHERMAN: The fact that it's happening is awful. It's awful and just unacceptable, and yet it is accepted.

SCHAPER: He and others say the community will heal eventually, but it will take time. And they just can't imagine that the Fourth of July or any large public gathering or celebration will ever be the same here again.

CHANG: Yeah. That is NPR's David Schaper. Thank you so much, David.

SCHAPER: My pleasure, Ailsa.

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