(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) — The 21-year-old suspect in the mass shooting at a July 4 parade in suburban Chicago that left seven dead and more than 30 injured is an aspiring rapper with an apparent streak of violent social media posts that investigators are combing through.
Multiple law enforcement officers arrested Robert “Bobby” Crimo III at gunpoint following a car chase hours after Monday’s massacre in the north coast town of Highland Park.
Investigators are looking at social media posts on numerous platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Discord, which they believe are associated with Crimo.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office officials said at a Tuesday news conference that the investigation alleges Crimo planned the attack for several weeks and opened fire on protesters from the roof of a business. to which he had access by a ladder affixed. Police alleged that Crimo fired more than 70 shots during the episode.
He was dressed in women’s clothing, apparently to blend in with the panicked crowd as he fled, Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Christopher Covelli.
Covelli said Crimo legally purchased the high-powered AR-15-style rifle he allegedly used in the attack in Illinois. Covelli said a second rifle, also purchased legally, was found in the car Crimo was driving.
He said Crimo also legally purchased three other weapons, including two pistols, which investigators seized from his father’s home.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office told law enforcement partners that Crimo was responding to investigators’ questions and issued statements taking responsibility for the attack, according to multiple law enforcement sources. .
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced Tuesday afternoon that Crimo has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. Rinehart said further charges are expected.
Steve Greenberg, attorney for Crimo’s parents, said the family retained two attorneys, Tom Durkin and Josh Herman, to represent their son. There was no immediate comment from defense attorneys and Greenberg said it was unclear whether the attorneys had met with the suspect yet.
“We are all mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and this is a terrible tragedy for many families, the victims, the protesters, the community and our own. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to everyone,” Crimo’s parents said. Greenberg said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
The lawyer added: “The parents are asking everyone to respect their privacy as they try to sort through this tragedy.”
During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Covelli detailed two prior contacts Crimo had with law enforcement. He said police checked Crimo after he attempted suicide in April 2019, but no action was taken.
Covelli said police were called to Crimo’s home in September 2019 by a family member who claimed Crimo allegedly threatened to kill everyone in his home. He said no charges were filed in the incident, but police seized 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo and reported the incident to Illinois State Police.
sergeant. Delilah Garcia of the Illinois State Police said no action was taken against Crimo during the September 2019 incident. She said that at the time, Crimo was not in possession of any firearms and had no firearms owner identification card or pending revocation application.
The suspect lived with his uncle, Paul Crimo, who told ABC News he was interviewed by the FBI. Paul Crimo told ABC News that while his nephew was living with him, they rarely had conversations. He said his nephew mainly focused on his music and stayed in his room and on his phone.
He said his nephew never espoused political views or mentioned weapons or firearms. He said his nephew didn’t have a job or many friends.
He said he last spoke to his nephew around 5 p.m. on Sunday, but they just said hello as they passed each other at the house they shared in the North Coast town of Highwood.
The uncle said his nephew was driving his mother’s car when he was arrested. He said his nephew’s car was still parked outside his home on Tuesday. The car has a number 47 sticker on the driver’s side door, matching a tattoo on his face.
A law enforcement source briefed on the case told ABC News on Tuesday that investigators have identified posts from several alleged Crimo-related social media platforms that discuss or describe acts of violence, including shootings at some people.
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which monitors and analyzes extremist content online, said in a statement that it appears Crimo has an extensive online presence and messages believed to be associated with it include mental health issues, hatred and a gravitation towards the far right and neo-fascist thoughts and ideologies.
An online post allegedly posted by Crimo about 10 months ago includes a video that appears to be part of the July 4 parade route in Highland Park that was accompanied by death-themed music, according to Strategic Dialogue.
Crimo, according to Strategic Dialogue, appears to have created videos depicting mass shootings, as well as his own death. A video Crimo allegedly posted depicts the aftermath of a school shooting and another uses animated characters to depict a mass shooting that mimicked the crime, according to Strategic Dialogue.
The posts believed to be from Crimo also include an inline symbol for itself resembling a hate symbol associated with neo-Nazis, according to Strategic Dialogue. Likewise, Crimo’s content features the aesthetics of niche neo-fascist subcultures, the group said.
“He wasn’t just screaming for help, he was crying out for help,” said John Cohen, an ABC News contributor and former acting undersecretary for the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Coordinator at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Covelli said Crimo was identified through surveillance video and by tracing the gun he allegedly left at the scene. Investigators also did not comment on a possible motive for the mass shooting.
Meanwhile, the wife of the rabbi of Chabad House in Highland Park told ABC News that Crimo came to their Passover service this year. She said Crimo left alone after his presence caused concern at the synagogue.
The synagogue now has armed security, given heightened concerns about violence in religious institutions across the country.
Covelli said at Tuesday’s press conference that investigators found no evidence to suggest a racial or religious motivation for the rampage.
Crimo was taken into custody more than eight hours after the Highland Park rampage when an all points bulletin was issued naming him as a person of interest and describing the silver 2010 Honda Fit he had borrowed from his mother. A North Chicago police officer spotted the car on U.S. Route 41 and attempted to stop Crimo, who led police on a brief chase before pulling over and turning himself in, authorities said.
Crimo apparently grew up in Highland Park, where his father, Robert Crimo Jr., owns a delicatessen.
Crimo’s father ran for mayor of Highland Park in 2019 but was easily defeated by incumbent Mayor Nancy Rotering, according to election results.
A Highland Park business owner who grew up with the Crimo elder told ABC News he “did his best to help his community” but “probably didn’t have much luck.”
After Monday’s shooting, Rotering spoke about the tragedy at a press conference.
“On this day when we have come together to celebrate community and freedom, we rather mourn the tragic loss of life and fight the terror that has been inflicted upon us,” Rotering said.
Heavily tattooed, including designs inked on his face, neck and hands, Crimo was an amateur rapper who went by the name Awake the Rapper. A music video posted to YouTube appears to depict the aftermath of a school shooting in which Crimo is filmed alone in a classroom wearing a helmet and body armor. A separate video shows Crimo sitting on a bed rapping while a journal featuring Lee Harvey Oswald hangs on the wall behind him.
Another video allegedly posted by Crimo shows a cartoon depiction of a person pointing a long gun at other characters with their hands raised and on the ground, and a character wearing a shirt with a logo used on the alleged accounts. Crimo’s social media platform. The video also shows a cartoon character shot dead by police.
Law enforcement sources told ABC News that Crimo’s music often references death and dying.
Spotify, where Crimo had just over 16,000 monthly listeners, and Apple removed Crimo accounts and music.
A YouTube spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News, “Following the horrific incident at Highland Park, our Trust and Safety teams identified and promptly removed non-compliant content in accordance with our Community Guidelines.”
ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Stephanie Wash contributed to this report.
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