Police: Parade Shooting Was Planned Weeks in Advance

Authorities have to yet talk about a potential motive
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2022 12:33 PM CDT
Police: Parade Shooting Was Planned Weeks in Advance
A police officer reacts as he walks in downtown Highland Park, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, Monday, July 4, 2022, where a mass shooting took place at a Highland Park Fourth of July parade.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Authorities provided an update Tuesday on the investigation into Monday's parade shooting in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, but the big question continues to elude them—why? "We have no information to suggest at this point it was racially motivated, motivated by religion, or any other protected status," said Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, per the New York Times. While Newser is focusing its coverage on the victims and other aspects of the aftermath, this file encompasses what is currently known about the suspect, identified by police as 21-year-old Robert E. Crimo III:

  • Planning: Though the motive at the moment is unknown, the suspect appears to have planned the attack "for several weeks," said Covelli, per CNN. Crimo is in custody, but charges are still pending as investigators accumulate evidence.

  • Disguise: Police say the gunman blended in with the crowd fleeing the scene after the shooting and appears to have disguised himself by wearing women's clothing, per the AP. That might have been to hide his extensive tattoos.
  • Shooting/weapon: The gunman fired more than 70 rounds from what police have described as a high-powered rifle. Police said Tuesday he purchased the gun legally in Illinois. Highland Park itself has a ban on such weapons.
  • Violent imagery: Investigators are poring over videos and images posted by the suspect online that contain violent imagery. One "shows a stick figure with an automatic rifle and a person lying in a pool of blood," per NPR. "Another shows a person in a classroom pulling on a tactical helmet and vest and reaching into a backpack." Crimo is described as an aspiring rapper, and his music videos also are violent, per the Washington Post.
  • Cub scout: It turns out that Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering has an unusual connection with the suspect—she was the leader of his Cub Scout pack. "Many years ago, he was just a little boy, a quiet little boy that I knew," she said, per CNN. "It breaks my heart. It absolutely breaks my heart. I see this picture and through the tattoos, I see the little boy. It’s heartbreaking. I don't know, I don't know what got him to this point, but let’s ask that question of so many people."
(More Highland Park mass shooting stories.)

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