How Parade Shooting Suspect Managed to Buy 5 Guns

Police were called to his home in 2019, but no formal complaints or arrests were made
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2022 8:54 AM CDT
How Parade Shooting Suspect Managed to Buy His Guns
Members of the FBI's Evidence Response Team Unit investigate in downtown Highland Park, Ill., the day after a deadly mass shooting on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Police say the gunman who attacked an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago fired more than 70 rounds with an AR-15-style gun.   (Ashlee Rezin /Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

(Newser) – More details are emerging about how the suspected gunman in the July 4 parade shooting in Highland Park managed to legally purchase weapons—five of them. Lake County Major Crime Task Force rep Christopher Covelli says that in September 2019, police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword after they were called to the suspect's home by a family member who said he was threatening to "kill everyone." Per a press release from the Illinois State Police, there were no arrests made at the time and "no one, including family, was willing to move forward on a complaint nor did they subsequently provide information on threats or mental health that would have allowed law enforcement to take additional action."

Further, a separate press release explains that "additionally and importantly, the father claimed the knives were his and they were being stored in the individual’s closet for safekeeping. Based upon that information, the Highland Park Police returned the knives to the father later that afternoon." Four months later, at age 19, the suspect applied for a Firearm Owners Identification card—required to make gun purchases in the state—with his father sponsoring his application since he was not yet 21. "There was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger" at that time, and so the license was granted.

Fox News reports the suspect subsequently cleared state-required background checks before buying firearms at least four separate times in 2020 and 2021, per Illinois State Police. Illinois law allows for the denial of gun purchases to people with felony convictions, drug addictions, or those characterized as "mental defectives" who are capable of harming themselves or others. But "a court, board, commission or other legal authority" must determine who is a "mental defective." The AP describes this as "just the latest example of young men who were able to obtain guns and carry out massacres in recent months despite glaring warning signs about their mental health and inclination to violence."

(Read more Highland Park mass shooting stories.)

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