Conflicting Accounts Emerge Over Whether Highland Park Shooting Suspect Was ‘Known to Law Enforcement’

Conflicting Accounts Emerge Over Whether Highland Park Shooting Suspect Was ‘Known to Law Enforcement’
First responders work the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill., on July 4, 2022. (Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

The individual accused of shooting and killing six people at an Illinois July 4 parade was not known to law enforcement, according to the mayor of Highland Park.

Mayor Nancy Rotering told NBC that she did not believe Robert Crimo was “previously known to police” before the incident, although he had posted numerous videos and songs on social media that indicated he may have violent tendencies. Crimo allegedly called himself "Awake the Rapper" and had thousands of listeners on Spotify.
The mayor's account directly conflicts with what authorities had local media outlets, with a police spokesman telling WGN-TV that Crimo was in fact "known to law enforcement." The Epoch Times has contacted the Highland Park Police Department for comment.

“We know that several postings really reflected a plan and a desire to commit carnage for a long time in advance,” said Rotering, who had run for office against Crimo's father when he ran for mayor of Highland Park several years ago.

Rotering said that she knew Crimo when he was a Cub Scout and "clearly had a mental breakdown" in recent days.

“I know him as somebody who was a Cub Scout when I was the Cub Scout leader … He was just a little boy,” she told the "Today" show. “And it’s one of those things where you step back and you say, ‘What happened? How did somebody become this angry, this hateful, to then take it out on innocent people who literally were just having a family day?'” said Rotering, who later pushed for more gun-control measures.

Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said a police officer pulled over Crimo about 5 miles north of the shooting scene, several hours after police released the man’s photo and warned that he was likely armed and dangerous. Authorities initially said he was 22, but an FBI bulletin and Crimo’s social media said he was 21.

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.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference “several of the deceased victims” died at the scene and one died at a hospital. Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said the five people killed at the parade were adults, but didn’t have information on the sixth.

Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, the incident commander on scene, said the shooter apparently used a “high-powered rifle” to fire from a spot atop a commercial building where he was “very difficult to see.” He said the rifle was recovered at the scene. Police also found a ladder attached to the building.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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