- The Washington Times
Monday, July 4, 2022

Police have arrested the man identified as a “person of interest” in the Independence Day mass shooting in a Chicago suburb.

Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen told reporters Monday evening that Robert “Bobby” Crimo had been “taken into custody without incident” about 15 minutes before he spoke.

The chief said that Mr. Crimo “was spotted by a north Chicago unit at Buckley and [Highway] 41” driving the silver 2010 Honda Fit for which police had earlier told the public to be on the lookout.

The chief said the police “attempted to initiate a traffic stop on that subject; that subject did flee” but was arrested after a “brief pursuit.”

The arrest occurred in Lake Forest about five miles north of the shooting scene, a couple of hours after police released Mr. Crimo’s photo.

Chief Jogmen said Mr. Crimo is being detained at the Highland Park Police Department “where we will begin the next phase of the investigation … to see that he is connected to this incident.”

He never used the word “suspect” in describing Mr. Crimo, though the term “person of interest” is often used as a euphemism for legal reasons.

The gunman killed six people and wounded 30 others in Highland Park as the northern Chicago suburb hosted its annual Independence Day parade.

The attacker began firing on the crowd from a commercial building’s rooftop at around 10:15 a.m. Central Time, when the parade was getting near its end.

“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,” said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat.

Police had no immediate word on possible motivation Monday evening. But they said Mr. Crimo’s social media profile was being investigated as part of the investigation.

According to the Internet Movie Database, a “Bobby Crimo” who was born in 2000 is known “as Awake The Rapper” and “is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and director from Chicago.”

“Bobby Crimo” also has Facebook, LinkedIn and Vimeo accounts that were taken down shortly after Highland Park police publicly named their suspect in the shooting.

One of the “Bobby Crimo” Vimeo videos was viewed by The Washington Times before it was taken down. It was posted eight months ago and is called “Are You Awake?”

The first-person, nihilistic song identifies the performer as a sleepwalker and includes images of someone shooting a rifle into a crowd and stylized stick figures with red splotches.

The all-spoken lyrics include verses like “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 thing as free will, or has this been planned out like a cosmic recipe?”

“My actions will be valiant / And my thought is unnecessary,” the rapper says.

At one point in the video, as the performer sits on a bed, a newspaper can be seen taped to the wall behind him. The banner headline reads “Oswald slain in jail shift.”

Police released a photo of the Robert Crimo who is a “person of interest.” Both that person and the performer in the rap video have a distinctive red-and-green flower tattoo on the neck.

A Facebook page identified as “Robert Crimo” was taken down. The account’s top and most-recent post was from May 29, 2021, and merely says “you are all sinners.”

Police had issued a description of the “person of interest” not long after the attack — a White male with long black hair. Authorities initially said he was believed to be aged 18-20 and later identified Mr. Crimo as 22; he is 21.

According to local authorities, five adults were pronounced dead at the scene and a sixth person died at a hospital.

One of those killed was a Mexican national, Roberto Velasco, Mexico’s director for North American affairs, said Monday on Twitter. He said two other Mexicans were wounded.

The weapon, a “high-powered rifle,” was abandoned at the crime scene. The gunman reached the rooftop via an external ladder that had not been secured, authorities said.

As the shots rang out, hundreds of parade marchers and attendees fled in a state of fear and confusion.

“All of a sudden everyone behind us started running,” one witness told CNN. “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.”

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said the violence “has shaken us to our core.”

“On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us,” she said

While the suspect remained at large, several nearby towns — Evanston, Deerfield, Skokie, Waukegan and Glencoe — canceled public celebrations, fearing another attack.

Baseball’s Chicago White Sox canceled a planned fireworks display after their evening game against the Minnesota Twins and even considered postponing after the game itself, but the teams went ahead and played it.

The shooting came less than two weeks after President Biden signed a bipartisan gun control bill into law.

The measure, which garnered bipartisan support in Congress, boosted funding for school security and mental health treatment. It also tightened the background check system for gun purchases by including domestic violence and juvenile records.

The proposal further subsidizes states that adopt red flag laws, which allow courts to confiscate firearms from individuals deemed a threat, or set up other crisis intervention programs.

“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “There is much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”

Haris Alic contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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