Highland Park July 4 shooting of suspected parents was ‘a problem’, says former coach

The accused’s parents Highland Park, Illinois, shooter Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo III were “a problem” and always the last to pick him up from his after-school sports program, the suspect’s former coach told Fox News Digital.

“I remember the parents more than him because they were kind of a problem,” recalls Jeremy Cahnmann, who ran an after-school sports program at Lincoln Elementary School. “There wasn’t much love in that family.”

The suspected gunman, 21, is in police custody after allegedly shooting revelers during the Highland Park parade on July 4, which killed at least six people and injured more than 36.

Crimo was 9 or 10 when he joined Cahnmann’s Nerf football program with his younger brother. “Every week the Crimos were the last kids there, and we had to call their parents to pick them up,” said the former coach, speaking of Crimo’s father, Bob Crimo, 58, and his mother, Denise Pesina, 48.


“The kid was very quiet, very gentle, never made an issue,” added Cahnmann, who now runs Chicago-based company Brain Bash Trivia.

However, Pesina was a handful, he said. “She got involved with one of the heads of the show once, she screamed,” he recalls. “It seemed as if her children were a burden to her.”

The accused shooteran aspiring rapper, grew up with his parents, younger brother and older sister on McDaniels Avenue in Highland Park, outside of Chicago.

Under the stage name ‘Awake the Rapper’, Crimo posted a disturbing music video in 2021 with drawings of a stick figure in tactical gear carrying out an assault with a rifle, and a newspaper clipping about Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed John F. Kennedy.

“The signs have been there for a long time,” said a neighbor of Crimo. “There were always police cars at the house. The parents were arguing, arguing all the time.”


Pesina is a self-proclaimed energy healer with her company called Trilogy Energy Systems, according to her Facebook page. His father once ran for mayor and ran a local sandwich shop, Bob’s Pantry and Deli, which has since closed.

“He was so nice, he always gave the kids free sweets and treats,” said the neighbor.

The mother seemed unstable, while the father was much loved in the community, locals told Fox News Digital.

At the time of the shooting, the younger Crimo was living with his father and uncle in a house in nearby Highwood. Neighbors said Pesina still lived in the house in Highland Park, which had become an eyesore in the upscale suburb.

“I walk by the house every day, it looks like it should be condemned,” said one local. ‘The landscape is two meters high. I recently thought to myself: we really need to do a well-being check.’

Cahnmann said he was stunned when he learned of the mass shooting.

“I’m shocked,” Cahnmann said. “Of course these things can happen anytime and anywhere, but Highland Park is a very affluent suburb where you don’t think things like this will happen.”

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