Suspect Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, was taken into custody Monday evening for the deadly shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois. The 22-year-old was zeroed in on as the person of interest thanks to a “significant amount of digital evidence” that helped lead investigators to him, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said when announcing the arrest.
Six people were killed and dozens of others were injured and hospitalized in the shooting that took place a little after 10 a.m. during the Independence Day parade in the suburb of Chicago, according to officials.
The Washington Examiner reports “Firearm evidence in connection to the shooting was located at the scene on the rooftop of a local business, where officials said a ladder with access to the roof was left unsecured. The gun believed to have been used by the suspect is a ‘high-powered rifle,’ police said.”
Shortly after Crimo was identified as a person of interest, he was taken into custody which law enforcement said followed a brief vehicle chase several miles away from the site of the morning shooting. Before the arrest, FBI agents were spotted at a home in Highwood, Illinois, which neighbors said is where Crimo lives with his family, according to local reports.
The Washington Examiner viewed videos pulled from Crimo’s BlogSpot video archive page, which remained active even after a YouTube page associated with Crimo was shut down. Crimo performed as a rapper named Awake the Rapper. The Examiner goes into extensive detail on the videos Crimo posted, which appear to preview the deadly attack:
In a short video titled “Where is Everyone?,” an Emergency Alert System can be heard repeatedly playing, as a video apparently being shot from the back of a vehicle shows him driving down an empty main street lined with American flags. The street appears to be the exact street on the parade route where the mass shooting occurred on Monday.
In the right corner of the video, a Salon Lofts store can be seen as the video moves away down the street. The video then crosses train tracks, and then a First Bank office is on the left side of the video as the video continues moving. A Google Map street view shows that this is Central Avenue in Highland Park and was part of the parade route, with the video seeming to end very close to where Monday’s shooting on Central Avenue took place.
The Google Drive for the BlogSpot post indicated the video was uploaded on Aug. 8, 2021, suggesting he may have considered attacking the July Fourth parade route for nearly a year at least. The city’s Fourth of July parade appears to have been canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, but the parade route was the same in years prior.
Another video dubbed “Project Arcturus” — Arcturus is the name of a red giant star named for a Greek myth — shows a drawing of someone wearing a helmet and straps across their back and chest gunning people down with a rifle. In the drawing, one person is on their knees with their hands up, while multiple dead bodies are on the ground. Crimo shows himself wearing a similar helmet and outfit in the video. In the same video, Crimo repeatedly shows what appears to be himself in his bedroom with an “Oswald Slain in Jail Shift” newspaper hanging on the wall above him. Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Some of the video was filmed in a classroom, giving the impression he may have considered a school shooting before attacking the parade instead. The video also appears to depict a drawing of Crimo himself bleeding in the chest.
Another video was titled “Are You Awake?” (also called “Sleepwalker 1” when it is downloaded), and although it was a different video, it also repeatedly showed the same drawing of people being shot and the same depiction of Crimo bleeding and displayed the same Oswald newspaper above Crimo.
“Like a sleepwalker, I am breaking through no matter what,” Crimo said in a voiceover in the video, adding, “I know what I have to do. I know what’s in it. Not only for me but for everyone else. Where am I going? I don’t know. I don’t care. There is no past or future, just the now. It is more abstract than I can ever imagine. I can feel the atmosphere pulling me in. It’s unstoppable. Like a wave pulling me under.”
Crimo also said: “I need to leave now. I need to just do it. It is my destiny. Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself. Is there such a thing as free will or has this been planned out like a cosmic recipe? It is what I have been waiting for in the back of my head, waiting to be awakened. It’s what I was sent here to do. Like a sleepwalker, walking with my head held high. Like a sleepwalker, walking blindly into the night.”
In a video titled “God’s Not Dead,” he spray paints “God’s Not Dead” as the Star Wars main theme plays. And in a video titled “Smiley Face Solider,” he shows a sped up version of himself spray-painting a soldier holding a rifle with a smiley face for a head as the “Imperial March” from Star Wars plays.
Another video titled “Freedom” shows him seeing to mock the idea of freedom as he repeats “freedom” and also appears to pronounce it as “free-dumb.”
Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo, a person of interest in the Highland Park, Illinois parade shooting, is in custody, police said. https://t.co/jJklpF72qF
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) July 4, 2022
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