Suspect charged with first-degree murder for Highland Park Fourth of July mass shooting

Isabel Funk, Summer Editor

Content warning: this story contains mentions of gun violence and death.

Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, the suspect in custody for the mass shooting at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade Monday, was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Tuesday evening.

Crimo is believed to have planned the shooting for several weeks with Rinehart describing the shooting as a “premeditated and calculated attack.” Prosecutors are expected to file dozens of more charges for the surviving victims.

The shooting occurred shortly after Highland Park’s parade began at 10 a.m. Five people died at the scene and one died in the hospital later Monday. A seventh individual died Tuesday in the hospital. More than 30 were admitted to local hospitals, including Evanston Hospital, for injuries. The injured ranged in age from 8 to 85, including four to five children, at least one of whom was critically injured.

As of Tuesday afternoon, nine of the 39 patients hospitalized in the NorthShore University Health System were still there.

Crimo, 21, was identified as a person of interest Monday afternoon and a North Chicago officer spotted him Monday evening near Lake Forest, Illinois. After a brief chase, police apprehended Crimo at about 6:30 p.m.

Deputy Chief Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said the gunman used a fire-escape ladder to climb to the roof of a business and fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd. The suspect dressed in women’s clothing to blend into the crowd and escape, Covelli said.

“We have no information to suggest at this point it was racially motivated, motivated by religion or any other protected status,” Covelli said.

The Lake County Coroner’s Office has identified six of the seven victims as of Tuesday. They ranged in age from 35 to 88 and included a married couple whose 2-year-old child was taken in by strangers at the parade when he was found alone.

Covelli said police believe Crimo legally purchased the weapon used in the attack, a “high-powered” rifle. A second rifle, also purchased legally, was found in the car Crimo was driving, which belonged to his mother, when he was taken into custody.

In 2019, a family member contacted the authorities, reporting that Crimo had threatened to “kill everyone.” Police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from his home, but did not arrest him, Covelli said.

Crimo’s father ran for mayor of Highland Park in 2019 against current Mayor Nancy Rotering, who has been the mayor for 12 years. Rotering said she knew Crimo when he was a 6-year-old Cub Scout in a troop she led.

Crimo, an aspiring rapper, posted several music videos that reference mass shootings. Images of Crimo at rallies for former President Donald Trump have circulated on social media.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation for Lake County on Tuesday to assist in recovery efforts.

“As we mourn together, the State of Illinois will provide every available resource to Highland Park and surrounding communities in the days and weeks ahead as the community works to recover from this horrific tragedy,” Pritzker said.

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Twitter: @isabeldfunk

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