Citing a conflict of interest, Chicago attorney Steven Greenberg revealed he has stopped representing the parents of the 21-year-old man accused of fatally shooting seven people during Highland Park's Fourth of July parade.
In a tweet Thursday, Greenberg said, "In light of a conflict that has arisen I am no longer representing the Crimo's," and he remains "hopeful that at some point this terrible tragedy will result in meaningful change."
One day after the shooting that wounded at least 40 people, the Chicago attorney tweeted that he had been retained to represent the suspect's parents - Robert Crimo Jr. and Denise Espina - and issued a statement on their behalf.
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“We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the paradegoers, the community, and our own," he said in the statement. "Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to everybody.”
The suspect was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder Wednesday and is expected to face more counts in connection with the deadly attack.
The 21-year-old's parents are under scrutiny as the community questions why they apparently supported their son's interest in guns only months after he reportedly threatened suicide and violence.
In 2019, the suspect was too young to independently apply for a gun license under Illinois law, so his father sponsored the application. Months before that, an unidentified family member called police to report that the son had a collection of knives and had threatened to "kill everyone."
Legal experts, though, said it's incredibly difficult to prove criminal charges against a shooter's parent or guardian. More often, they face civil lawsuits where legal standards of proof are less stringent.
In a tweet Wednesday, Greenberg said "the 'the system' is trying to make this about parenting."
"The parents recognize that is a legitimate concern. However it is important to know the Illinois State Police renewed the gun card when their son turned 21, long before this without any involvement from his father," he said, in part. "By the way, the law does not require a parent to sponsor, the law simply requires them to consent that their child may apply. It is then up to ISP to decide if the individual is competent to own a gun."
Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart declined this week to say whether his office will pursue charges against the suspect's parents, who are now being represented by attorney George Gomez.
In media interviews, the suspect's father has said he does not expect to face charges and does not believe he did anything wrong by helping his son get a gun license through the state's established process.