‘Deeply troubled’: Madison police respond to report Highland Park shooting suspect considered Madison attack

‘deeply Troubled’: Madison Police Respond To Report Highland Park Shooting Suspect Considered Madison Attack

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Police Department is responding to reports from authorities in the Chicago area that the man accused of killing seven people and injuring dozens of others during a mass shooting during a July 4 parade considered a second attack in the Madison area on the same day.

“We are deeply troubled to learn the suspected Illinois parade shooter considered carrying out another attack here in Madison,” Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a statement released by the department Wednesday afternoon. “We feel for the grieving families in Highland Park and all those forever impacted by the events of Monday’s shooting. We recognize tragedy very well could have taken place in our own community. That reality is upsetting to all of us here in Madison, including the members of the Madison Police Department.”

Barnes added that his department is waiting to hear more information about the facts of Robert Crimo III’s trip to Madison from their law enforcement partners investigating the shooting in Highland Park.

RELATED: Highland Park mass shooting suspect ‘seriously contemplated’ second attack in Madison, officials say

“Mass shootings are far too common in our country,” Barnes added. “The Madison Police Department has recognized this concern for years, has trained for these incidents, and has adjusted our staffing of large events accordingly. Protecting you, the members of our community, will always be the top priority for our department.”

Authorities in Illinois said Wednesday morning that Crimo drove to the Madison area after carrying out the shooting in Highland Park, and passed a celebration in the Madison area.

“It appears when he drove to Madison, he was driving around, however, he did see a celebration that was occurring in Madison and he seriously contemplated using the firearm he had in his vehicle to commit another shooting in Madison,” Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said.

Crimo had about 60 rounds of ammunition and a high-powered rifle in his car at the time.

Covelli said they do not believe that Crimo planned ahead of time to drive to the Madison area, and say he decided against a second shooting in the Madison area because he did not plan for or research it ahead of time, as he allegedly did for the Highland Park shooting.

Authorities say Crimo got rid of his cell phone in Middleton on the 6500 block of University Avenue before driving back to the Chicago area, where he was later arrested. The owner of Jim’s Auto Service Center confirmed to News 3 Now reporter Kathryn Merck that the phone was found at his business. The FBI collected the phone as evidence.

Speaking to News 3 Now on Tuesday, Barnes initially declined to comment about Crimo being in the Madison area, referring questions to the FBI.

RELATED: Madison police chief shares how department keeps large events safe after Highland Park parade shooting

The Madison Police Department is scheduled to hold a media briefing with additional comments at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. You can watch the briefing live on Channel3000.com and on the free Channel3000+ connected TV and mobile apps.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi responded to Crimo’s alleged thoughts about carrying out a second attack in the Madison area, calling it a “frightening reminder” that no one is immune to the “often randomness of gun violence.”

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway echoed Parisi’s thoughts, calling the news “deeply disturbing.”

“I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the entire community in Highland Park who are mourning those killed and trying to heal from this horrific event,” the mayor said in a statement released by her office Wednesday afternoon. “Today’s news that the suspected shooter traveled to Madison and contemplated violence here is deeply disturbing and only underscores the fact that we need a national approach to dealing with gun violence. Weapons of war have no place in our communities.”

A judge in Illinois ruled Wednesday that Crimo will be held without bond after being charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole. Prosecutors say they plan to file additional charges in the future for every person who was injured in the mass shooting.