CHICAGO – The search for a 22-year-old man suspected by authorities of opening fire on the Highland Park Independence Day parade, which killed at least six people and injured more than two dozen others, has ended Monday night when he was taken into custody on the North Coast.
The arrest of Robert “Bobby” Crimo III came about eight hours after the mass shooting, which stunned the Chicago region and country as it celebrated the Fourth of July.
Late Monday afternoon, Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen had identified Crimo as the person of interest, saying he was driving a silver 2010 Honda Fit.
Crimo was spotted by the North Chicago Police Department near US Highway 41 and Buckley Road. An officer tried to stop Crimo, but he fled before being stopped, Jogmen said.
More than 100 law enforcement agencies had spent the day helping search for the suspect after he opened fire from a rooftop along the parade route. The police dragnet had started with a perimeter around the core of Highland Park and gradually expanded to include police activities in nearby neighborhoods and eventually other suburbs.
Crimo was described as a longtime suburban resident who posted videos online under the name “The Awake Rapper.”
An archive of 17 YouTube videos apparently from Crimo alternates between sane and ominous.
In one video, a teenager who looks like Crimo is happily skateboarding and romping with his friends. Another films what appears to be a police escorted motorcade exiting an airport before a man who appears to be Crimo turns the camera to his tattooed face.
A black and white video taken with a selfie stick shows a gloomy figure who looks like Crimo walking through a neighborhood. In another, over his shoulder is a newspaper with a headline by Lee Harvey Oswald.
The most chilling video is the latest in the series, uploaded eight months ago, featuring footage of a young man in a bedroom and classroom, along with cartoons of a gunman and people getting shot.
A rotating image of interlocking triangles is superimposed on the video. “I just have to do it,” says a voiceover over instrumental music. “It is my destiny. Everything has led to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself. Is there such a thing as free will, or is it planned as a cosmic recipe? It’s what I’ve been waiting for in the back of my mind, ready to be woken up. That’s why I was sent here, like a sleepwalker who walks steady with his head held high, like a sleepwalker who walks blindly into the night.”
Meanwhile, an investigation into the firearm used in the attack was underway after authorities announced that a rifle had been recovered at the scene.
Details about the recovered rifle were the subject of an urgent, accelerated track by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Firearms tracking information generally provides manufacturing information and also where a firearm was shipped for sale by a federally authorized firearms dealer.
The tracing involves contacting the dealer, who must review the paperwork to determine who the firearm was originally sold to. Once completed, the information will be handed over to the Highland Park Police Department, authorities said.
The Lake County Major Crime Task Force, the Highland Park Police Department and the FBI led the investigation, but “there are dozens of police stations on the scene and our federal partners are also deployed,” police said.
The mayhem began around 10:15 a.m. when the gunman, reportedly Crimo, stood on a roof and opened fire, shooting at least 30 people — at least six of them fatally, about 15 minutes into the northern suburb of the Fourth of July Parade, according to police and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Prior to Crimo’s arrest, Chris Covelli, deputy sheriff of Lake County, had urged people to stay in their homes and exercise caution when a search began.
“No neighborhood is safe,” said Jonathan Kozera, 56, who lives around the corner from the Highland Park home that was the subject of law enforcement. “There is too much hatred going on in this country. We should celebrate today, not to make people suffer. There are many sick people.”
Meanwhile, neighbors on a block in nearby Highwood watched as FBI agents gathered in the driveway of a home where Crimo was said to live.
Gio Montenegro did not know the suspect, but saw him drive by almost every day on his electric scooter. His brother went to school with Crimo, he said.
“He was quiet,” he said. “Never said anything. Just mind his business, put his loud music on his scooter.’
As officers walked through the house, Crimo’s neighbors walked in their driveway. They said they knew nothing about the boy and the family next door.
Later in the day, Chicago police marched on a house on West Taylor Street that apparently was linked to a Crimo relative. They were still there with the streets closed in the area when Crimo was arrested on the North Shore.
(Chicago Tribune reporters Jeremy Gorner and John Keilman contributed to this story.)