What we know about the suspect in the Highland Park parade shooting
Hours after a gunman opened fire at a suburban Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing seven people and injuring two dozen, police detained 21-year-old Robert Cremo III. Cremo, better known as Bobby, was charged Tuesday with seven counts of first-degree murder.
Investigators say the gunman fired at the parade-goers from a terrace at around 10:15 a.m. when the community celebrated Independence Day. Police said a “high-powered rifle” was recovered from the scene. The suspect was initially said to be a young white man with long dark hair.
Chris Cowelly, deputy chief of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said in a news conference Tuesday that investigators believe Crimeo was disguised in women’s clothing during the shooting “in an attempt to hide himself”. .
Coveli said investigators were able to identify Cremo through a combination of video and rapid tracing of rifles recovered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Supposedly, after the shooting, Cremo joined the crowd and went to his mother’s house, eventually moving to a Honda Fit.
He was taken into custody on Monday evening when someone spotted a Honda Fit in nearby suburban 911 and was pulled over by police. Another rifle and other firearms in his home were also recovered from the car, Coveley said. Coveli said the weapons were legally purchased by Cremo in the Chicago area.
On Monday afternoon, police and the FBI surrounded the family home in Highwood, just north of Highland Park. Neighbors told CBS Chicago that Cremo lived there with his father and uncle. His uncle said that Cremo had stayed in an apartment in the back.
His father, a deli owner, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Highland Park in 2019. Cremo’s uncle Paul said he had seen no sign that his nephew might commit violence.
“There was absolutely no indication,” Paul Cremo told CBS Chicago. “There was no indication that I had seen at all that would lead to this.”
He said the attack broke his heart. “I can’t even believe it right now. (I) am praying for all the families and the injured and the injured,” he said.
Bobby Cremo also went by the stage name Awake the Rapper and posted content online that contained violent imagery. On the now-deleted YouTube page, some of his videos include animated scenes of gun violence in his hometown, and others. In a video that depicts gun violence, he can be heard saying, “I have to go now. I just need to do it. It’s my destiny.”
Coveli said investigators are “reviewing” those videos, but said it’s not clear why the shooting happened.
“At this point we haven’t developed inspiration from him,” Covelli said. He said that Crimeo’s history with the police is limited.
“There have been few law enforcement contacts. Nothing of a violent nature,” Covelli said.
Kovelli elaborated on those past contacts at a briefing on Tuesday afternoon. He said that in April 2019, a man contacted Highland Park Police after learning that Cremo had attempted suicide. Police retaliated at his home but the situation was already being handled by mental health professionals and was not considered a police matter at the time.
In September 2019, a family member reported that the suspect said he would “kill everyone.” Police retaliated at his residence and took out 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from the residence, but, Koveli said, there was no probable cause to arrest him. The Illinois State Police was notified of the incident at that time.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rottering said in an interview on “CBS Mornings” Tuesday that she knew Cremo as a child.
“I was his Cub Scout pack leader. He was a little boy at the time. My heart breaks for everyone in this town,” Rottering said. “I’m not sure what happened to him that forced him to do such evil in his hometown, but we have a city that is in deep mourning today and it will take us a long time to recover from all this.”