Parade attack suspect indicted for murder, attempted murder
CHICAGO (AP) — The man accused of opening fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago has been indicted by a grand jury on 21 first-degree murder counts (3 counts for each victim), 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery.
Prosecutors previously filed seven murder charges against the suspect, one count for each person who was killed. They announced the grand jury’s decision to indict him on 117 felony charges on Wednesday.
Attorneys for the accused gunman have not made a formal response yet to any of the charges.
Prosecutors have said the 21-year-old admitted to the shooting at the Highland Park parade when police arrested him following an hours-long search on July 4.
Under Illinois law, prosecutors can ask a grand jury to determine whether there is probable cause to proceed to trial. Grand jury proceedings aren’t open to the public and defense attorneys cannot cross-examine witnesses.
The multiple first-degree murder charges allege the suspect intended to kill, caused death or great bodily harm and took action with a strong probability of causing death or great bodily harm on the seven people who died.
Authorities have said the more than 30 wounded range in age from 8 to their 80s, including an 8-year-old boy who was paralyzed from the waist down when the shooting severed his spine.
Prosecutors said Monday that the 48 attempted murder counts and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm represent “each victim who was struck by a bullet, bullet fragment, or shrapnel.”
“I want to thank law enforcement and the prosecutors who presented evidence to the grand jury today,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said in a statement. “Our investigation continues, and our victim specialists are working around the clock to support all those affected by this crime that led to 117 felony counts being filed today.”
During a court hearing presenting the murder charges, prosecutors said police found more than 80 spent shell casings on the rooftop of a building along the parade route and the semi-automatic rifle used in the attack on the ground nearby.
Investigators believe the suspect blended in with the fleeing crowd to get away from the scene, then borrowed his mother’s car and briefly contemplated a second attack on a celebration in Madison, Wisconsin, before returning to Illinois where police arrested him.
He is due to appear in court on Aug. 3.