HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – The 22-year-old Illinois man identified as a person of interest in Monday’s parade massacre is an amateur rapper who posted disturbing videos to his YouTube channel, including crude animation showing a gunman killed by the police.
In addition to the videos filled with violent imagery and mass shooting fantasies, Robert “Bobby” Crimo last year posted a video on his personal blog from Central Avenue in Highland Park, the main street of the parade route.
Another showed a title referring to Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy. He reportedly posted a video of a beheading on a message board.
Crimo, who was taken into custody about seven hours after a sniper attack left six dead and dozens more injured, went by the name Awake the Rapper on social media.
His social media footprint indicates that he is an avid video gamer and professional wrestling fan. A photo posted to Twitter showed him wearing a Trump flag as a cape; in another, he sported an FBI cap. There was a photo of him at a Trump rally dressed as Waldo, but he also liked a Twitter video of President Biden.
On most of Crimo’s social media pages, and embedded in many of its videos, is a symbol that roughly resembles the one used by Suomen Sisu, a Finnish far-right organization. Crimo, however, does not appear to mention the national group in its posts. He was also the administrator of a Discord channel named “SS” which has since been deleted.
An Instagram account also owned by Crimo – whose family hails from the Highland Park area – features several black-and-white portraits that reveal him with a tattoo of a number on one side of his temple and the word “Awake” at the above one of his eyebrows. Crimo also appears to have hatch marks that total five under his eye.
A neighbor who asked to remain anonymous told The Daily Beast that Crimo would ride around the neighborhood and nearby nature reserves on an electric bike, blasting heavy metal. He was driving a car with “pussymobile” written on the back.
“The family has been in the area for a long time,” she said, adding that her father is a small business owner who ran for mayor of Highland Park in 2019 and lost by a two-to-one margin. one facing the holder.
“We don’t really know him, but we see him rolling around the neighborhood,” she said. “We’ve never had any interaction with him other than seeing him drive.”
His uncle, Paul Crimo, also told Fox 23 Chicago that he saw no “warning signs” that Crimo might be involved in Monday’s shooting.
“I didn’t see any signs of trouble. And if I had seen any signs, I would have said something,” Crimo said, adding that his nephew is a “YouTube rapper” who once worked at Panera Bread.
Crimo’s videos, however, are full of dark themes.
In one, titled “On my Mind”, Crimo is seen in an empty classroom in tactical gear and holding the American flag. In another, he raps, “Like a sleepwalker, I’m piercing no matter what” alongside snippets of footage in which he appears to be armed.
The video titled “Toy Solider” is a cartoon that begins with a student texting in class while Crimo can be heard rapping “fuck this world”. It cuts between footage of a heavily armed gunman entering a school and opening fire, then engaging with police outside. The final scene shows the shooter lying in a pool of blood.
Crimo also appeared to have a blog, where he posted many of his music videos and photos of himself. In a video titled “Smiley Face Solider”, Crimo records himself painting an armed soldier with a yellow cartoon smiley face on a brick wall while the star wars the theme song plays in the background.
NBC News reported that Crimo had his own Discord channel, which was deactivated after the shooting, and that he frequents a message board devoted to the death, where he posted the video of the beheading.
A listing of Crimo on entertainment site IMDB describes him as a “six-foot hip-hop phenom” who is “the middle child of three and of Italian descent.”