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Who is the suspected gunman in the Highland Park Fourth of July parade shooting?

Police say the suspected gunman fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd and wore a disguise to escape.

WASHINGTON — The nation was shaken once again on Monday following a deadly mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in suburban Chicago. At least 6 people were killed and at least 30 were wounded. 

Hundreds of marchers, parents with strollers and children on bicycles fled in terror when a gunman on a rooftop opened fire on the Highland Park parade. Investigators believe he fired more than 70 rounds. 

Charges were expected to be announced soon, according to a spokeswoman for the Lake County state's attorney, Sara Avalos.

Who is the July 4 parade shooting suspect?

Police initially identified 21-year-old Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo III as a person of interest and said he was detained Monday evening, but a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force said Tuesday that he is now considered a suspect.

More than a dozen police officers on Monday evening surrounded a home listed as an address for Crimo in Highland Park. Some officers held rifles as they fixed their eyes on the home. An armored vehicle was also parked in the middle of the road.

Around 7:30 p.m. Eastern, authorities announced Crimo was taken into custody after a North Chicago police officer spotted him. While there was a brief police chase, Highland Park authorities said he was eventually taken into custody without incident. He is believed to have acted alone. 

Crimo used a fire escape ladder to access the roof of a local business with a high-powered rifle “similar to an AR-15," police said in a Tuesday press conference. Investigators say he fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd. 

Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Chris Covelli said the man used a fire escape ladder to access the roof of a business with a "high-powered rifle" he had apparently bought legally in Illinois. He said the suspected gunman wore a disguise to escape through the crowd after opening fire. 

"During the attack, Crimo was dressed in women's clothing," Covelli said in the press conference. "Investigators do believe he did this to conceal his facial tattoos and his identity and help him during the escape with the other people who were fleeing the chaos."

An FBI wanted poster described his tattoos as including "four tally marks with a line through them on his right cheek, red roses and green leaves on his neck, and cursive script above his left eyebrow."

The FBI poster also noted he has ties in Illinois to Rockford, DeKalb and Elgin.

Credit: City of Highland Park
Highland Park Police Chief says they've identified Robert E. Crimo III, 22, as a person of interest in the shooting at a Chicago-area July 4 parade.

Covelli said Crimo dropped his rifle after the shooting and blended in with the crowd, escaping to his mother's house and taking her vehicle. Law enforcement sent out an alert for the vehicle, and a person saw it and called 911. Police initiated a stop and found a second rifle in the vehicle. They found other firearms later in Crimo's residence. 

Investigators believe Crimo bought the firearms legally in the Chicago area. 

Covelli said investigators haven't determined a motive, but have not found any indication Crimo targeted anyone by race, religion or other protected status: "The shooting appears to be completely random."

Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, posting on social media dozens videos and songs, some ominous and violent. 

In one animated video since taken down by YouTube, Crimo raps about armies “walking in darkness” as a drawing appears of a man pointing a rifle, a body on the ground and another figure with hands up in the distance. A later frame shows a close-up of a chest with blood pouring out and another of police cars arriving as the shooter holds his hands up.

In another video, in which Crimo appears in a classroom wearing a black bicycle helmet, he says he is “like a sleepwalker… I know what I have to do,” then adds, Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, even myself.”

Crimo’s father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Highland Park in 2019, calling himself “a person for the people.”

What happened in Highland Park?

The shooting occurred at a spot on the parade route where many residents had staked out prime viewing points early in the day for the annual celebration. Dozens of fired bullets sent hundreds of parade-goers — some visibly bloodied — fleeing. They left a trail of abandoned items that showed everyday life suddenly, violently disrupted: A half-eaten bag of potato chips; a box of chocolate cookies spilled onto the grass; a child’s Chicago Cubs cap.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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