Disturbing | 

Chicago Fourth of July shooter identified as Donald Trump supporting rapper

Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III, who is known as Awake the Rapper on Spotify, is suspected of killing six people and wounding more than a dozen others

Robert (Bob) E. Crimo III is a person of interest in the Highland Park shooting (Photo: Robert Crimo via Reuters)© Robert Crimo via REUTERS

The shooter has been identified as Robert 'Bobby' Crimo

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

The man suspected of killing six people and wounding more than a dozen others in Monday’s July 4th parade massacre in Illinois has been identified as a 22-year-old Donald Trump-supporting rapper.

Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III who is known as Awake the Rapper on his Spotify page, where he has more than 16,000 listeners per month, was arrested after a manhunt that involved local and federal authorities.

Police have identified Crimo as the gunman who climbed on to a roof, before shooting randomly at spectators using a high-powered rifle.

A total of 26 victims were injured, 25 of whom suffered gunshot wounds. Six remain in hospital for treatment.

The age of the victims ranges between eight and 85, with around four or five of those shot believed to be children.

It is the latest mass shooting to hit the US where there has been one in every week of 2022. President Joe Biden said he was "shocked" by the violence.

Hours later, two police officers were wounded in a shooting in Philadelphia during a Fourth of July fireworks display.

Crimo has been referred to as a "person of interest" in Monday's shooting, but after his arrest police said they believed he was responsible.

The shooter has been identified as Robert 'Bobby' Crimo

The gunman opened fire at the parade, near the city of Chicago, at around 10.15 local time (15.15 GMT), just a few minutes after it began.

The event was scheduled to include floats, marching bands, and community entertainment as part of the city's Independence Day celebrations.

However, the happy scenes quickly turned to panic, with pushchairs, purses and lawn chairs left discarded on the street as crowds fled. Some witnesses said they thought the sound of gunfire was fireworks.

Evidence of Crimo’s dark interests emerged through various music video posted online including one featuring a drawing of himself shooting people and another disturbing clip of himself throwing bullets on the floor of a classroom while wearing armour in what appears to be a joke about school shootings.

In 2020, Crimo was pictured attending a Donald Trump rally while dressed as Where's Waldo. Another picture has emerged showing the suspect wrapped in a Donald Trump flag.

In addition to videos filled with violent imagery and mass-shooting fantasy, Crimo last year posted a video on his personal blog of Central Avenue in Highland Park—the main street of the parade route.

Another one showed a headline referring to Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F Kennedy. He reportedly posted video of a beheading to a message board.

One photo posted to Twitter showed him wearing a Trump flag like a cape; in another, he sported an FBI cap.

On most of Crimo’s social-media pages, and embedded in several of his videos, is a symbol that roughly resembles that used by Suomen Sisu, a far-right Finnish organisation.

Crimo, however, does not appear to mention the national group in his postings. He was also the administrator of a Discord channel named “SS” that has since been taken down.

An Instagram account also belonging to Crimo—whose family is from the Highland Park area—showcases several black-and-white portraits that reveal him with a tattoo of a number on one side of his temple and the word “Awake” above one of his eyebrows.

One neighbour told The Daily Beast that Crimo would ride around on an electric bicycle, blasting heavy metal.

“The family’s been in the area for a long time,” she said, adding that his father is a small business owner who ran for mayor of Highland Park in 2019

“We don’t really know him, but we see him riding around the neighbourhood,” she said. “We never had any interaction with him, other than we just see him driving around.”

His uncle, Paul Crimo, also told Fox 23 Chicago that he saw no “warning signs” that would indicate Crimo could be involved in Monday's shooting.

“I saw no signs of trouble. And if I did see signs I would have said something,” Crimo said, adding that his nephew was a “YouTube rapper” who once worked at Panera Bread.

Crimo’s videos, however, are full of dark themes.

In one, titled “On my Mind,” Crimo is seen inside an empty classroom in tactical gear and holding the American Flag. In another, he raps, “Like a sleepwalker, I am breaking through no matter what” alongside snippets of footage in which he appears to be armed.

The video titled “Toy Solider” is an animated cartoon that begins with a student texting in class while Crimo can be heard rapping “f**k this world.”

It cuts between images of a heavily armed shooter going inside a school and opening fire and then engaging with police outside. The final scene shows the shooter lying in a pool of blood.

Crimo also appeared to have a blog, where he posted several of his music videos and photos of himself. In one video titled “Smiley Face Solider,” Crimo records himself painting an armed solider with a yellow cartoon smiley face on a brick wall while the Star Wars theme song plays in the background.

NBC News reported that Crimo had his own Discord channel, which was disabled after the shooting, and that he frequents a message board devoted to death, where he posted the beheading video.

A listing for Crimo on the entertainment site IMDB describes him as a “six foot Hip hop phenom” who is the “middle child of three and of Italian descent.”

At one of the rallies that Crimo was pictured at in Northbrook, Illinois, the Chicago Tribune described it as 'tense ' but said that there was no arrests made as counter-protesters showed up at the event. The ex-president was not present at that rally.

The suspect's IMDb page describes him as being the middle child of three who grew up in an Italian-American family in Highland Park, Illinois.

It has now emerged his father Bob Sr, 58, is a local deli owner who once ran for mayor, while his mom Denise Pesina, 48, was once arrested on suspicion of domestic battery.

She appears to have become a Mormon and is also into alternative therapies, according to her Facebook page.

One of the victims, Jacki Sundheim, was a long-time staffer at North Shore Congregation Israel.

“Jacki was a lifelong congregant of NSCI and a cherished member of NSCI's staff team for decades,” the synagogue wrote in an email that announced her murder 'Jacki's work, kindness and warmth touched us all.'

Sundheim, was the Reform synagogue's events and b'nei mitzvah coordinator, according to its website. She is survived by her husband Bruce and daughter Leah, the Times of Israel reported.

“There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki's death,” the synagogue added.

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