Highland Park shooting: Man arrested shared violent images online ahead of shooting

ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy has the latest on the Fourth of July shooting which killed six people and injured dozens

Police in the US have arrested a man after six people were killed and at least 36 were injured after a gunman opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb.Ahead of the shooting, the man arrested - Robert E Crimo III - reportedly shared violent images on social media.

Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, is an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper and appears to have posted dozens of videos and songs often depicting violent images or messages.

In one animated video since taken down by YouTube, the 21-year-old raps about armies “walking in darkness” as a drawing appears of a man pointing a rifle, a body on the ground and another figure with hands up in the distance.

A later frame shows a close-up of a chest with blood pouring out and another of police cars arriving as the shooter holds his hands up.

Crimo poses beside an American flag in a classroom in one of his YouTube videos.

In another video, in which Crimo appears in a classroom wearing a black bicycle helmet, he says he is “like a sleepwalker… I know what I have to do",” then adds: “Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, even myself.”

The YouTube channel was no longer accessible as of Monday night, NBC reports.

A police officer holds up police tape at the scene of a mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade. Credit: AP

Crimo also apparently had his own Discord sever named "SS" where people would chat online. The most recent picture posted to the server before the attack depicts Budd Dwyer, a Pennsylvania state treasurer who shot himself on live TV in 1987. The image was posted along with the caption: “I wish politicians still gave speeches like this.”

The Discord server has since been taken down, according to The Independent.

He also reportedly posted to a grisly message board, and last week posted a video of a beheading.

Photos have since circulated of Crimo at a rally for former US President Donald Trump, but despite his digital footprint it is not clear what his political beliefs are, the Washington Post reports. At the rally, he was dressed up as the animated character Where's Waldo.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering told NBC that several of the online posts “reflected a plan and a desire to commit carnage for a long time in advance". She said she knew Crimo as a boy when he was a Cub Scout, and added: “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 out."

She also called on a national conversation following the mass shooting and condemned allowing "weapons of war" to circulate in the streets of US cities.

Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said a police officer pulled over Crimo about five miles north of the shooting scene, several hours after police released his photo and an image of his silver Honda Fit, and warned the public that he was likely armed and dangerous.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesperson Christopher Covelli said the gunman seemed to have opened fire on parade-goers from a rooftop using a “high-powered rifle” that was recovered at the scene.

A man runs for cover with a child in a stroller after gunfire was heard at the Fourth of July parade. Credit: Lynn Sweet/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

Police say they do not yet know the motive behind the attack at the parade which was about three-quarters of the way through when the shooter opened fire at 10.15am. “Very random, very intentional and a very sad day,” Mr Covelli told reporters.

Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said the five people killed at the parade were adults, but didn’t have information on the sixth victim who was taken to a hospital and died there.

Nicolas Toledo, a grandfather in his 70s, was the first victim to be named locally by his family on Monday.

"My grandfather Nicolas Toledo father of eight and grandfather to many left us this morning July 4th, what was suppose to be a fun family day turned into a horrific nightmare for us all," said his granddaughter Xochil Toledo on a GoFundMe page.

"As a family we are broken, and numb," she added.

Nicolas Toledo was named as one of the victims of the attack by his family. Credit: GoFundMe

Jacki Sundheim, a teacher at a Highland Park synagogue, was also killed, confirmed North Shore Congregation Israel in an email to congregants.

"There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki's death and sympathy for her family and loved ones," the synagogue said.

“Jacki was a lifelong congregant of NSCI and a cherished member of NSCI’s staff team for decades. Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all," it added.

A woman cries at the scene following the attack. Credit: AP

One of those killed was a Mexican national, said Roberto Velasco, Mexico’s director for North American affairs, on Twitter on Monday. He said two other Mexicans were wounded.

NorthShore University Health Center received 26 patients after the attack. All but one had gunshot wounds, said Dr Brigham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness.

Their ages ranged from eight to 85 and Dr Temple estimated that four or five patients were children.

Dr Temple said 19 of them were treated and discharged. Others were transferred to other hospitals, while two patients, in stable condition, remained at the Highland Park hospital.

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“It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said on Monday night.

“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.”

Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, the incident commander on scene, said the gunman 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.

Gina Troiani and her son were lined up with his nursery class ready to walk onto the parade route when she heard a loud sound that she believed was fireworks - until she heard people shout about a shooter. “We just start running in the opposite direction,” Ms Troiani, whose five-year-old son was riding his bike decorated with red and blue curled ribbons in a group with other children, said.

"It was just sort of chaos."

“There were people that got separated from their families, looking for them. Others just dropped their wagons, grabbed their kids and started running.”

Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float with colleagues, and the group was preparing to turn onto the main route when she saw people running from the area. “People started saying: ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,’” Ms Glickman said. “So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.”

“This morning at 10:14, our community was terrorised by an act of violence that has shaken us to our core,” Mayor Nancy Rotering said.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims at this devastating time. On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us.”

Police search in a building after the mass shooting in downtown Highland Park. Credit: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Monday's attack is just the latest in a series of recent mass shootings to hit the US, including high-profile massacres at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in May.

They reignited the fierce debate over gun ownership and second amendment rights in America.

In June, US President Joe Biden signed the most significant gun control bill into law in decades, which brought in more stringent checks on young buyers and encouraged states to take a way firearms from people considered a threat.

On Monday, the US president said he and first lady Jill Biden were “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.”

He said he had “surged federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter, who remains at large at this time.”