Arrested: Awake The Rapper identified as “Person of Interest” in July 4th Highland Park Shooting

UPDATE – July 4, 8:15 p.m.: Robert E. Crimo III has been taken into custody near Lake Forest, Illinois. Authorities made the announcement just before 8 p.m. ET. Crimo was spotted by a North Chicago police officer who attempted to initiate a traffic stop. He then fled and led officers on a brief pursuit before being stopped in Lake Forest.

He was taken into custody without incident and is still only considered a “person of interest” while they investigate.

Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen has identified 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III as a “person of interest” in connection with yet another senseless mass shooting that has left at least six people dead, and wounded about two dozen others. The shooting in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, began shortly after 10 a.m. CT as parade-goers began to celebrate American Independence Day.

While authorities did specify that Crimo has not been officially named as a suspect, they also warned that he was considered “armed and dangerous.” There is currently a manhunt underway to track him down.

Crimo has been identified by various sources as an Illinois rapper who performs under the name Awake The Rapper. Not much is known about him at this time, but he does have a verified Spotify profile with releases dating back to 2016. An IMDb page describes him as a “rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and director from Chicago.”

As various news sources have reported, it appeared the gunman was shooting at the crowd from the roof of a business nearby the parade. Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Chris Covelli described a weapon recovered at the scene as “a high-powered rifle.”

After the shooting, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering announced that the remainder of the festival had been canceled.

“On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we’re instead mourning the loss, the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us,” Rotering said during a news conference.

Media reports are already starting to look at possible red flags connected to Crimo, including the “On My Mind” music video which was removed from YouTube just hours after he was named as a person of interest. The disturbing clip was posted at the end of May 2022, and takes place entirely inside a classroom. Towards the end of the video, Crimo is seen wearing combat gear as bullets raid down from his open hands. He’s then seen standing in front of an American flag while wearing body armor as an evil laugh can be hear in the background. Knowing what happened in Highland Park, it’s hard not to see it as a warning from Crimo on what was to come, but it’s easy to call it a red flag in hindsight.

As YouTuber Adam Hays put it: “How many rappers and videos rap and talk about killing?? He never even said anything in the video about it just his actions by dropping bullets and the very next shot is him holding the flag with that evil laugh in the background…..and if you watched this before today would you honestly think this particular video/song was about murdering people on the 4th of July? Probably not.”

The manhunt for Crimo continues. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.