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Police arrest 22-year-old suspect in Chicago-area parade shooting

Suspect identified as ‘rapper’ Robert E. Crimo III; videos from his now-deleted YouTube channel show him wearing helmet and bulletproof vest inside a classroom

Robert (Bobby) E. Crimo III. (City of Highland Park Police Department via AP)
Robert (Bobby) E. Crimo III. (City of Highland Park Police Department via AP)

A 22-year-old man identified as a person of interest in a shooting during an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago that killed at least six people, wounded at least 30 and sent hundreds of people fleeing was taken into custody Monday evening following an hours-long manhunt, police said.

Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said that a police officer briefly chased Robert E. Crimo III as he drove about five miles north of where the shooting occurred before the man pulled over and was taken into custody.

Police declined to immediately identify Crimo as a suspect but said identifying him as a person of interest, sharing his name and other information publicly was a serious step.

Jogmen earlier said that police had identified Crimo as a person of interest and cautioned he should be considered armed and dangerous. Police declined to answer questions about how they identified Crimo. Authorities described his car as a silver Honda Fit with an Illinois license plate DM 80653.

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. A large armored truck, marked “Police Rescue Vehicle,” occupied the middle of the road near the residence. Police blockaded roads leading to the home in a tree-lined neighborhood near a golf course, allowing only select law enforcement cars through a tight outer perimeter.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were conducting an urgent trace of the rifle used in the attack, agency spokesperson April Langwell said. Federal agents conduct such traces to identify when, where and to whom the gun was last sold.

A Chicago musician of the same age and with the same name goes by the stage name “Awake the Rapper” online.

In one of his music videos posted on his now-deleted YouTube channel, Crimo is seen wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest in a classroom, the Daily Mail reported. The video then shows the classroom ransacked with the suspect smiling.

Other reports said his videos were filled with violent imagery and lyrics.

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.

“It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news conference.

“I’m furious because it does not have to be this way… while we celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become a weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition.”

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