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Chicago shooting: Suspected July 4 massacre gunman is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III

·4 min read
robert crimo iii chicago shooting highland park parade suspect rapper
robert crimo iii chicago shooting highland park parade suspect rapper

The 22-year-old suspect in the Independence Day parade mass shooting is an aspiring rapper who uploaded disturbing videos to social media, including a rudimentary animation of a gunman being shot dead by police.

Robert 'Bobby' E Crimo III, 22, performs under the name 'Awake the Rapper'. His social media, including a YouTube channel, is awash with videos filled with mass shooting fantasies, while another contains a headline referencing Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated President John F Kennedy.

Crimo, who authorities initially said was 22 but who the FBI say is 21, was arrested about 7 hours after he is alleged to have shot six people dead and injured a further 36 from the top of a shop along Central Avenue in Highland Park, Illinois.

Police say the suspect used a "high-powered rifle" during the attack as Highland Park Police chief Lou Jogmen described Crimo as "very dangerous".

Crimo, 22, was arrested shortly before 7pm local time (1am UK) after a short chase with authorities. He was stopped driving a 2010 silver Honda Fit with the Illinois registration plate IL DM80653.

His social media account shows he is a Trump supporter, who has attended one of the former President's rallies, dressed as the fictional character Waldo, from Where's Wally. In other photos he can be seen wearing a Trump flag like a cape.

Crimo has also uploaded photos in which he is wearing a jumper emblazoned with a 'Pepe the Frog' meme, a popular symbol among alt-Right groups.

Crimo is alleged to have owned a server on the social messaging platform Discord which was named 'SS'. The server has since been removed.

On Crimo's YouTube channel, disturbing videos have been uploaded that appear to glorify gun violence.

Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Twitter
Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Twitter
Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Facebook
Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Facebook

In one, titled 'On my Mind', Crimo is seen inside an empty classroom in tactical gear, holding the American Flag and dropping golden bullets on the floor.

In another, he has drawn a crude animation of a man holding a rifle before being shot by police and lying in a pool of blood.

Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Robert Crimo /REUTERS
Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Robert Crimo /REUTERS

The 22 year-old is the second of three children who grew up in an Italian-American family in Highland Park, a community his grandfather was born in in 1928.

Crimo's father, 58, Bob, is believed to be the owner of a local deli, who once unsuccessfully ran for mayor of the Illinois town of Highwood, close to Highland Park, where the shooting occurred.

Bob Crimo appears to be a staunch supporter of the right to own guns. On the day of the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, he is alleged to have liked a tweet that read: "Protect the Second Amendment like your life depends on it."

Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Twitter
Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Twitter

He appears to have run for mayor as an independent, as his campaign was not backed by a political party. His campaign slogan characterised him as 'A Person of the People'.

Crimo Sr was defeated by the town's incumbent mayor Nancy Rotering, who ran her liberal campaign on a platform of gun control.

Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Robert Crimo /REUTERS
Chicago shooting: Suspected gunman behind July 4 massacre is rapper Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III - Robert Crimo /REUTERS

His mother, Denise Pesina, appears to be of the Mormon faith and owns an alternative healing business called Trilogy Energy Systems established after she studied Traditional Chinese Medicine at Shanghai University.

In 2015, she was arrested on charges of domestic battery while driving, according to reports.

Crimo's uncle told CNN the family had seen "no sign" that his nephew would commit such an act of violence.

"There were no signs that I saw that would make him do this," he said. "He’s a quiet kid. He’s usually on his own. He’s a lonely, quiet person. He keeps everything to himself."

A neighbour of the Crimo's told the Daily Beast that the 22-year-old was known to ride around the local area on his e-bike, playing loud heavy metal music.

"We don’t really know him, but we see him riding around the neighborhood," she told the outlet. "We never had any interaction with him, other than we just see him driving around."