- Six people are dead including five adults who were killed at the parade. The sixth victim died in the hospital. Their age is not yet known. An additional 24 people were treated in hospital, aged from eight to 85
- Authorities have named 22-year-old Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo III also known as Awake the Rapper as the suspect in the attack.
- He is in custody
- Crimo was described as being between 18 and 20 with long black hair, white, ‘slight build’ and wearing a t-shirt
- The gunman used an automatic rifle that he abandoned before going on the run
- The shooter opened fire on crowds at the Highland Park July 4th Parade at 10.20am on Monday morning
- Confused residents couldn’t tell if the gunshots were fireworks or firecrackers that were part of the festivities
- The shooter is believed to have opened fire from the roof of a store on the parade route
- Videos show them running for their lives once they realized a shooter had opened fire
- Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet, in attendance, shared a photo of what she termed the ‘bloodbath’
- Witnesses say lifeless bodies lay in pools of blood along the parade route
- Highland Park is one of the most affluent suburbs in Chicago’s North Shore, and it is known for its low crime
A 22 year-old rapper has been arrested on suspicion of shooting and killing six people at a July 4 parade in an affluent Chicago suburb.
Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo III was intercepted by cops in North Lake Forest, Chicago, after 7pm local time Monday evening when cops saw the silver Honda Fit he was last seen driving.
Dramatic photographs from the scene show the suspected mass-murderer – who posted creepy clips about shooting massacres online – being pinned to the ground face-down by police.
Cops say Crimo opened fire from a rooftop, into a crowd who at first confused the sound of gunshots with Independence Day fireworks.
A total of 26 victims aged between eight and 85 were injured, with six still receiving hospital treatment. The area has a large Jewish community, although police have yet to share a possible motive for Monday’s slaughter.
Crimo is from of the Highland Park area and posted rap videos online using the name Awake. In one song, the suspect wrote: ‘My actions will be valiant and my thought is unnecessary, I know what I have to do, I know what’s in it, not only for me, but for everyone else.’
The doom-laden words were set to drawings of a figure who looked like Crimo pointing a rifle while a person lies prone on the ground, and another holds their hands up in the air.
At one point, a grab of a newspaper clipping about JFK’s murderer Lee Harvey Oswald is visible.
An IMDb page about the suspect describes him as a ‘rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and director from Chicago.’
The most viewed video on the rapper’s YouTube channel is the music video for his song: ‘On My Mind.’ The video, showing a the suspect in a classroom.
It starts off innocuously enough, with Crimo rapping about a classmate he has a crush on. But two thirds of the way through Crimo reaches into his bag.
Then the screen goes blank, with the next scene showing the same classroom trashed.
Crimo is then seen wearing a combat helmet, and scattering gold bullets onto the floor of the classroom in what appears to be a possible teaser of what he has been planning for months.
Crimo operated two channels both of which have been deleted for ‘violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.’
The track begins as a slow ballad, including the lines: ‘You’re always on my mind. Cutie with the fat ass, I wanna make you mine. I’m running out of time. Shorty we can skip class, smoke and chill online.’
The song has a sudden change in tempo and shows Crimo reaching into a backpack. The screen goes black and when the music returns it’s dubbed with maniacal laughter and, fast paced piano music and a heavy drum beat.
The video then shows the classroom ransacked with the suspect smiling.
His IMDb page describes him as being the middle child of three who grew up in an Italian-American family in Highland Park, Illinois.
His father Bob runs a local deli, and once ran unsuccessfully to become mayor of the affluent neighborhood.
The bio goes on to say that his music career began when he was 11 when Crimo began uploading music online.
His music is in the genre of LoFi rap, according to his Spotify page. He has released three albums, the first in 2017 titled ‘Messages,’ that was followed with 2018’s ‘Observer’ and 2021’s self-titled ‘Awake the Rapper.’
This year he released an EP titled: ‘Brainwashed.’ The tracks included: ‘Dead Again’ and ‘I Am the Storm.’
Crimo has an average of 16,46 listens per month on Spotify.
In his most recent tweet from October 2021 on his artist Twitter page, the suspect tweeted: ‘I am not a robot.’
Crimo appears to have longstanding ties to the Highland Park-area with his father, Bob Crimo, running for mayor of the town in 2019. It does not appear that his campaign was backed by a political party. His slogan was a: ‘A Person for the People.’
Bob Crimo is the owner of Bob’s Pantry and Deli in Highland Park. In a 2018 feature with the Chicago Tribune, Bob Crimo was pictured with his wife, Denise. He describes his restaurant as a ‘family-run and family-orientated store.’
The gunman’s attack began less than 15 minutes after the start of the parade. Witnesses have now told how they saw children being picked off in the crowd.
Six people are dead including five adults who were killed at the parade. The sixth victim died in the hospital. Their age is not yet known.
Nicholas Toledo, a grandfather, was among those killed. His family confirmed his death to CBS.
Chilling videos obtained by DailyMail.com replay how the gunman first unleashed one long hail of bullets before stopping – presumably to reload – and then resuming fire.
Brigham Temple, the medical director of emergency preparedness for Northshore university health system, said they received 20 patients aged between eight and 85 – 10 of them by ambulance.
Four of five patients were children, he said. One of the children who arrived at Northshore was too critically ill to be transported initially. He was stabilized and airlifted to a children’s hospital in Chicago.
Temple said some of the patients were in critical condition.
Of the 25 who arrived at the hospital with gunshot wounds, 19 were treated and discharged home.
One had to be transferred to Evanston hospital. Two patients are still being treated at Northshore.
‘It is a little surreal to take care of an event such as this,’ he said.
‘But all of us have undergone extensive training.’
He said there was a team of therapists and counsellors standing by. His hospital was one of three taking in patients from the parade shooting.
A statement from the Township High School District 113 said that all members of the Highland Park High School marching band and members of the school’s football team are safe and accounted for.
As of Monday afternoon:
- ATF agents are trying to trace the gunman’s high-powered weapon to a name
- It was revealed the shooter climbed onto the roof of a business with a ladder from an alley
- Authorities in Highland Park tried to track down the families of the five adults killed
- Survivors told how they threw their kids in dumpsters to shield them from the spray of bullets
- President Biden called for greater gun reform in light of the shooting and Democrats called it ironic that it happened in Independence Day, claiming no one in America is free of gun violence
The Governor of Illinois was among the first to call for an end to gun violence while other Democrats – who have been relentlessly demanding gun reform since the Uvalde school shooting on May 24 – invoked irony to make renew their calls for change.
‘The fact that no place in the USA is safe from gun terror means no place is truly free. Heartbroken for Highland Park,’ Katherine Clark, Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House, tweeted.
Witnesses described seeing children being shot at the parade. All of the confirmed deaths so far are those of adults.
‘All of a sudden everyone behind us started running. I looked back, probably 20 feet away from me, I saw a girl shot and killed. I saw her die. I’ve never seen anything like this,’ a woman, who gave her name only as Zoe, told CNN.
Police say they recovered a ‘rifle’ at the scene but witnesses described multiple rounds being fired in quick succession which they say could only have come from a semi-automatic.
‘A rifle? No, no. It was an automatic weapon. It was pop, pop, pop – rifles don’t do that,’ she said.
President Biden – who has been calling for gun reform since the Uvalde shooting on May 24 which claimed 19 lives – issued a statement on Monday afternoon.
He said he had given his support to the Governor of Illinois and the Highland Park Mayor, and he celebrated his recent passing of a gun control bill.
‘I recently signed the first major bipartisan gun reform legislation in almost thirty years into law, which includes actions that will save lives.
‘But there is so much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence,’ he said.
Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement: ‘There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community.
‘There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams, their futures.
‘There are no words I can offer to lift the pain of those they live behind. I will stand firm with Illinoisans and Americans: we must – and we will – end this plague of gun violence.’
Zoe, the woman who witnessed a little girl being shot in the head, said the event was for children and dogs who had just passed by when the gunman opened fire.
‘One man had been shot in the head, his ear, he was bleeding all over, and he was, like, I’m just happy that’s all happened. There was another girl that got escorted out that was shot in the leg. We were hiding in the basement for quite a while.
‘I mean, someone, 20 feet away, you know, someone — and then we went back to get our cars and we saw the streets were quite littered.
‘It looked like a battle zone and it’s disgusting.
‘It was — you know, everyone obviously remembers the Boston marathon massacre, like a happy marathon, and it’s just a happy day. It’s the Fourth of July.
‘It was the kid’s parade and dog parade. Little kids on bicycles and pets.
‘That’s who had just walked by,’ she said.
Witnesses described a ‘sickening’ scene and is it feared that children are among the dead.
‘I saw multiple lifeless bodies, people in a pool of blood. One father, who survived with his kids, tossed his son in a dumpster.
Miles Zaremsky, a 74-year-old lawyer who has lived in Highland Park since for 60 years, told DailyMail.com: ‘I witnessed the carnage. It was nice outside weather-wise, so I took a walk twenty minutes from my house.
‘I heard multiple shots and I thought it was firecracker… but I heard multiple shots, 30-35 pops if I had to guess.
‘The crowd started stampeding. I had ever seen that before. I saw blood on people’s bodies.
‘Two or three people looked deceased to me[around 25 to 40 years of age]. It was absolutely disgusting and gut-wrenching and I was sick to my stomach.
‘I did see a little boy [covered in blood] in his parents’ arms who looked [pale]. They were yelling for medics.
‘It’s surreal, it’s like out of a science fiction but it is real.
‘My wife and I have been living in Highland Park since 1966. It is a beautiful, charming, peaceful, law-abiding community.
‘If it can happen here, it can happen in any community in the United States.’
Highland Park is an affluent, suburban city with a population of 30,000. Its residents are largely families and there is a significant Jewish population in the area, but there is no suggestion the attack was anti-Semitic.
Among those who were participating in the parade was a Hasidic Jewish band. One jarring video showed them slowly making their way down the parade route on a float while those ahead of them – suddenly aware of the danger – ran in the opposite direction.
Nineteen-year-old real estate student Rainan Eli, 19, saw the shooting unfold from the window of his apartment on Central Avenue and Second Street.
‘I was just sitting studying for some class I’m taking and watching the parade. I saw lots of people running and at first, everybody assumed it was fireworks being the Fourth,’ he told DailyMail.com.
Eli pulled out his cellphone and recorded heart-wrenching video of people running and seeking shelter as shots being fired could be heard in the background.
He said that two other residents of his apartment building came downstairs with him and gave the 15 to 20 people in the vestibule drinks.
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float with coworkers and the group was prepared to turn onto the main route when she saw people running away from the area.
‘People started saying `There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there is a shooter” Glickman said.
‘So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there. I’m so freaked out,’ she said.
‘We can’t believe this happened in our little town.’
Matt Phillip, 36, director of tasting room operating at Lynfred Winery, told DailyMail.com: ‘We were open early for the parade and upon hearing what sounded like fireworks, we noticed that people started running down the street.’
‘We opened our doors so they could either seek shelter within our facility or exit through our back-alley door.’
Highland Park is renowned for being one of Chicago’s most affluent suburbs; Michael Jordan owns a mansion in the area, and it is also where enormous mansion featured in Home Alone is situated.
It is among a cluster of wealthy suburbs along the North Shore next to Lake Michigan.
The town’s mayor, Nancy Rotering, spoke briefly at a press conference along with law enforcement on Monday to share her condolences with the families of those killed.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted: ‘The tragedy unfolding in Highland Park is devastating.
‘I have been in contact with Mayor Rotering and have offered our support, and the Chicago Police Department is providing assistance.
‘We grieve with the families of the deceased and injured as well as the entire Highland Park community.
‘Law enforcement is working hard to bring the shooter into custody.
‘If anyone has information, we encourage them to call 911 and report what you know.’
Unlike Chicago, which has one of the worst gun violence records in the country, violent crime in Highland Park is almost unheard of.
The average price of a home in Highland Park was $714,000 in April 2022 and the city has a population of around 30,000.