Highland Park parade shooting: Robert Crimo, Jr., dad of 'Bobby' Crimo III, speaks out, says he raised son with 'good morals'


HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) — Robert Crimo, Jr., the father of suspected Highland Park parade shooter Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, said he does not regret sponsoring his son for a FOID card that allowed him to legally purchase weapons — even after incidents that raised red flags with police.

This, as a criminal investigation is planned looking into any culpability he may have in this tragedy.

Crimo Jr. described the entire situation as a nightmare, saying the family is just as shocked because he believes his son was raised with good morals.

“You know, I’m just in upheaval. Of everything. Emotions. I mean, it’s just. It’s numbing and I don’t know how else to explain it. Like I’m in a bad dream right now,” he said.

Crimo Jr. said he never expected this of his son, who now sits in custody accused of massacring parade goers on the forth of July in Highland Park… killing 7.

“As a father, I pretty much lost a son,” Crimo Jr. said.

He spoke publicly for the first time in an exclusive phone interview with ABC News.

Listen to full interview

Crimo Jr., a 2018 candidate for mayor of Highland Park, said he had talked to his son the night before the shooting.

“Thirteen hours earlier, I spent almost an hour with them sitting in the yard talking about the planet, the atmosphere and nothing. Great mood. I’m just shocked,” Crimo Jr. said. “I think, three days before the fourth, my wife had asked him, ‘hey, do you have any plans for the fourth?’ And he simply said, ‘no.'”

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Crimo Jr. said he doesn’t know the motive behind his son’s actions.

“That’s what I’d like to ask him when I see him. I mean there, this kind of definitive act is a senseless act of violence. There’s no need for it,” Crimo Jr. said.

When asked whether he feels guilt about sponsoring his son for a FOID card after several incidents that raised red flags with police, he said, “Guilty. No, he did it all on his own.”

He said he doesn’t regret helping his son get a FOID card because he was following the law.

“You know, he went through the legal process. I don’t know if it’s guilt. I feel horrible as to what happened. Beyond horrible,” Crimo Jr. added.

However, he didn’t get a FOID card on his own. To go through the legal process for gun ownership at 19, Crimo III needed a sponsor, vouching that he wasn’t a threat.

“I filled out the consent form to allow my son to go through the process that the Illinois State Police have in place for an individual to obtain a FOID card. Like that’s all it was, a consent form to allow my son to go through the process. They do background checks,” Cirmo Jr. said.

Illinois State Police are now investigating Crimo Jr. and his culpability for signing the consent form for his son.

“It’ll be up to the courts and this process to decide what was appropriate and what was not in this circumstance,” ISP Director Brendan Kelly said Wednesday.

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The father downplayed threats his son made in 2019 to kill others, likening it to a child’s outburst.

He said that didn’t change his mind about his son owning a gun, leaving it up to the vetting process.

“Like, that’s all it was … a consent form to allow my son to go through the process. They do background checks. Whatever that entails, I’m not exactly sure. And either you’re approved or denied. And he was approved and prior, right before 2021,” Crimo Jr. said.

Crimo Jr. said his son purchased the guns on his own and registered them in his own name.

WATCH: Could suspected parade shooter’s father face charges?

In the meantime, the father said he hasn’t stopped thinking about the victims since the shooting.

“My heart goes out to them. I just I can only imagine losing a family member at a parade or a child that doesn’t have their parents? It’s horrific,” Crimo Jr. said.

Crimo Jr. also strongly denied rumors of his son suffering from abuse at home.

He also wasn’t concerned by the social media posts his son made in the past, saying he hadn’t seen them all and figured they had to do with his music.

“I love my son, but it’s it’s devastating to everyone involved. Anyone who was, who passed away, injured, psychologically damaged, hearing the gunfire — there were little children. It’s a horrific act. I would never want to see that happen again. That’s why we need to do something about it. I think the whole system has to be overhauled,” Crimo Jr. said.

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As this community is working to heal, ABC7 has learned that police were called to the Crimo home a number of times since 2002 for domestic incidents. Few involved the suspected shooter.

ABC News contributed to this report.

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