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So Far Past the Rubicon

Highland Park Shooter Was Known to Law Enforcement

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

He was known to law enforcement. How many times are we going to hear that regarding a mass shooting? He had mental health problems going back to middle school. He declined additional resources to seek help as his parents chose to homeschool him. He had a reported social media presence—and it was highly disturbing. 


Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo III was arrested on July 4 after he allegedly opened fire on an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, an affluent Chicago suburb. Crimo killed six people and wounded 38 others (via NBC News): 

Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, the person of interest identified by police after Monday’s shooting in a Chicago suburb that killed six people and wounded 38 others, left a long trail of tributes to mass shootings and public killings on social media platforms, according to numerous profiles that appear to belong to him.

Crimo performed as a rapper who went by the name “Awake,” whose recent music videos included depictions of mass murder.

Crimo’s most recent video posted to YouTube showed him in the aftermath of a school shooting. It ends with Crimo draping himself in an American flag. Another music video showed a cartoon depiction of a man wearing a shirt with his YouTube channel’s logo on it, holding a long gun and being shot by police.

The YouTube account that hosted his videos, which had previously been accessible to the public, was unavailable Monday night.

Crimo had his own Discord server, where fans and people who knew him would chat. The community featured a politics board filled with nihilistic political memes. The most recent post before the shooting, which was posted in March, was a picture of Budd Dwyer, the Pennsylvania state treasurer who shot and killed himself on live television in the late 1980s, along with the caption “I wish politicians still gave speeches like this.”

On Discord, fans would share posts that Crimo had made of himself. One apparent selfie Crimo took in March reads: “Cursed image screenshot and send to everyone or commit not alive anymore,” a reference to suicide.


Crimo's father ran for mayor against incumbent Nancy Rotering in 2019. He described his son as having emotional issues as well. 

Where "see something, say something" dies here is the nature of Crimo's online postings. They're for people who have similar twisted concepts about life and morality. They're not going to the police. If anything, they hate the police. Even if someone reported seeing one of his posts, I doubt the police could do anything. Countless posts that could be considered threatening are posted every day. There are simply not enough resources or manpower to sift through all of them. Illinois does have a red flag law, so expect a debate on that to be rehashed, especially since Congress just passed a law incentivizing more states to adopt these measures. 

Mass shooters as of late seem to make their intentions known online months, at times years, in advance. We need to be better at targeting the ones who are serious about committing havoc and murder. The problem is that our laws are laughably behind technology by at least 25 years, maybe more. I also don't trust Congress to make the right call either, so we're in a bind here. 


I'm sure more will be revealed about Crimo. We'll keep you posted. 

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