Police near the parade grand stand continue their investigation at the scene of a mass shooting at a 4th of July celebration and parade in Highland Park, Ill., on Tuesday. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
The man suspected of opening fire from a rooftop during a Fourth of July parade in Illinois — killing several people — was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Eric Rinehart, Lake County state’s attorney, said Robert “Bobby” Crimo, 21, will likely face “dozens” more charges going forward. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Rinehart announced the charges Tuesday evening in a news conference in which he described the shooting a “premeditated and calculated attack.”
Chris Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said in an earlier news conference that Crimo fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd of parade participants and attendees before dropping his rifle, blending into the crowd and going to his mother’s home. He allegedly dressed as a woman to escape notice, Covelli said.
Authorities said Crimo used a “high-powered” weapon in the shooting. Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering told the Chicago Tribune that he purchased the gun legally in Illinois. Police found a second rifle inside Crimo’s mother’s car, which he was driving when he was arrested.
Covelli said the gunman appeared to be shooting randomly into the crowd and not targeting any specific groups or individuals. He said the shooting in general “appears to be completely random.”
“We have no information to suggest at this point that it was racially motivated, motivated by religion or any other protected status,” he said.
Police arrested Crimo in North Chicago late Monday after a brief pursuit, hours after police say he opened fire on the parade in Highland Park. At least six people were killed and 30 others were injured.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office identified six of the victims Tuesday. The seventh died Tuesday after being hospitalized with injuries. The dead include Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78. All were from Highland Park except Toledo-Zaragoza, who hailed from Morelos, Mexico.
Irina McCarthy and Kevin McCarthy were married and had taken their 2-year-old son to the parade. The New York Times reported the boy was found alone after the shooting and his photo was shared online in an attempt to reunite him with his family.
Adrienne Rosenblatt, a neighbor of the McCarthy’s, recognized the toddler and notified his grandparents, who were reunited with him at a police station.
“It’s just said,” Rosenblatt told the Times. “Do you call him an orphan?”
Crimo also went by the name Awake the Rapper and has posted various music across his social platforms. Also found on some of the platforms attributed to him were varying images of violence, including cartoonish drawings depicting gun violence.
Crimo’s social profiles have since been deactivated.
CNN reported that Crimo had created music clips with foreboding lyrics and animated scenes of gun violence. One video showed a cartoon animation of a stick-figure shooter in tactical gear carrying out an attack with a rifle.
In another video, the stick-figure character was lying face down on the floor in a pool of blood surrounded by police officers with their guns drawn.
The Tribune reported that another video included a voice-over that said, “I need to just do it, It is my destiny.”
“Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself,” the voice-over said. “It is what I’ve been waiting for in the back of my head, ready to be awakened. It’s what I was sent here to do, like a sleepwalker walking steadily with my head held high, like a sleepwalker walking blindly into the night.”
NBC News reported that Crimo had his own channel on the message board Discord, where followers praised him after the shooting. The platform was shut down late Monday. Crimo had previously posted frequent messages there, which included graphic depictions of murder, suicide and death.
Covelli said police were reviewing videos Crimo had posted online as part of their investigation.
“At this point, we have not developed a motive,” Covelli said Tuesday.
Crimo’s father, Robert Crimo Jr., ran for mayor of Highland Park in 2019 but lost to incumbent Mayor Nancy Rotering.
Illinois attack was one of several deadly shootings across U.S. over July 4th holiday
Biden addresses Illinois shooting at July 4 White House barbecue