Having identified Robert E. Crimo III as the person suspected of shooting and killing six people as well as wounding dozens of others Monday morning at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, the police have arrested the man, according to a Monday evening statement by authorities.
According to available data, the police suspect that the potential gunman opened fire shortly after 10 am CT (5 pm CEST) from the rooftop of a business near the parade route using a "high-powered rifle". Christopher Covelli, spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, stated that the attack appeared to be "random" and "intentional."
An officer detected the suspect during a traffic stop procedure
As reported by CNN, federal, state and local authorities identified Mr Crimo on Monday after the shooting and asked for the public's help in locating him by hinting that he had been driving a 2010 silver Honda Fit. Halted by an officer who attempted to initiate a traffic stop, Mr Crimo fled and led officers on a brief pursuit before being stopped in Lake Forest, Illinois, authorities said late Monday.
Mr Crimo was taken into custody without incident, as reported by the police. A bystander recorded the police action. In the video, officers can be heard giving commands for Mr Crimo to step out of the vehicle. The officers, guns drawn, keep Mr Crimo in crosshairs as he exits the vehicle with his hands in the air.
What tipped the law enforcement off were online music videos posted and allegedly made by the suspect. The clips featured ominous-sounding lyrics and animated scenes of gun violence
. In one video, there was a cartoon animation of a stick-figure tactical-gear-wearing shooter that resembled Mr Crimo’s appearance. The effigy could be seen carrying out an attack with a rifle.
In another video, a similar stick-figure cartoon character resembling Mr Crimo is depicted lying face down on the floor in a pool of his own blood surrounded by police officers with their guns drawn. After Mr Crimo was called a person of interest, his Facebook and Twitter accounts were taken down.
“A significant amount of digital evidence” also aided investigators in determining the suspect, Mr Covelli said late Monday, adding that “calling somebody a suspect or person of interest, it’s really synonymous … This individual is believed to have been responsible for what happened and the investigation will continue. Charges have not been approved yet at this time -- and we are a long way from that.”
Although Highland Park Police initially identified the suspect as being 22 years old, later an FBI bulletin reported he was 21.
But as Paul A. Crimo, the suspect’s uncle, told CNN, he saw no warning signs that would give off his nephew's potential malevolent intentions.
“I’m heartbroken. I’m so heartbroken,” Paul A. Crimo said, filled with remorse for the families of the victims and added he had spoken at length to law enforcement Monday about his nephew.
In line with the uncle’s statement, his nephew lives in an apartment behind the house owned by his father. Paul A. Crimo said he last saw his nephew Sunday evening looking at his computer and not acting out of the ordinary.
There were children among the wounded
The shooting left six people dead, five of whom perished on the site of the attack. All of them were of age, said Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek.
The sixth casualty died at a local hospital, Ms Banek added. As many as 26 patients were received at Highland Park Hospital, according to Dr Brigham Temple, medical director of NorthShore University Health System went on to say that ten of those treated had arrived by ambulance and 19 of the 25 gunshot victims had been discharged.
The age of these patients varied between 8 and 85 years old. Four or five of the patients were children, Mr Temple said.
Five other victims were transported to Evanston Hospital, according to spokesman Jim Anthony with the NorthShore University Health System.