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Person of interest apprehended in July 4 parade attack that killed 6, authorities say

Officials in the affluent Chicago suburb identified the person as Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — A person of interest in the July Fourth parade attack that killed six people and injured 38 others in suburban Chicago on Monday has been apprehended, authorities said.

Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo III was spotted in a Honda Fit described as wanted by the FBI in North Chicago, where local police attempted a traffic stop before the man took them on a short pursuit, authorities said.

At the end of the chase Crimo surrendered peacefully to North Chicago officers, they said.

Image:
Law enforcement officers search in downtown Highland Park, Ill., after a mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade Monday.Nam Y. Huh / AP
A Lake County police officer walks down Central Ave in Highland Park, Ill.
A Lake County police officer walks down Central Ave in Highland Park, Ill., on Monday after a gunman fired on the town's Fourth of July parade. Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune via AP

Chris Covelli of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force said at a news conference Monday night that Crimo "is believed to have been responsible for what happened, and the investigation will continue."

Law enforcement officials confirmed that a YouTube page for a quasi-famous hip-hop artist, Awake the Rapper, removed Monday, is associated with Crimo, identified by IMDb and YouTube as a performer and producer of emo rap-style music since 2016.

The manhunt began when officers saw a person they thought was a sniper on a downtown rooftop. When they approached, he ran away.

Witness Larry Bloom said that at first people thought the popping sound was part of the parade.

“You heard like a ‘pop, pop, pop,’ and I think everybody kinda thought maybe it was a display on one of the floats, and then it just opened up,” he told NBC Chicago.

“I was screaming, and people were screaming,” Bloom added. “They were panicking, and they were just scattering, and I, you know, we didn’t know. You know, it was right on top of us.”

Five of the six people who were killed were pronounced dead at the scene, and the sixth victim died at a hospital, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said.

Dr. Brigham Temple, the medical director of emergency preparedness for Northshore Medical Group, said at a news conference that 26 people were initially seen at Highland Park Hospital. Of those, 25, ages 8 to 85, had suffered gunshot wounds.

Nineteen of the patients were treated and released, he said. Among the rest, some were in critical or serious condition, Temple said. A few were transferred to nearby trauma centers, he said.

Four or five children were treated at the hospital, Temple said.

Six people were taken to Lake Forest Hospital, and seven were taken to Evanston Hospital, Highland Park Fire Chief Joe Schrage said earlier.

Paradegoers who might have lost contact with friends and family members were urged to go to the Highland Park Police Department to be reunited.

After the shooting, discarded camping chairs, U.S. flags, plastic cups and other belongings littered the parade route, left behind by people who had come out to celebrate July Fourth before they fled for their lives.

In the business district near the scene, dozens of people were sheltering in businesses, awaiting SWAT teams who escorted them out to safety.

Helicopters circled overhead during the manhunt for the shooter who rained terror on what was supposed to have been a celebration of the nation’s freedom.

The street was dotted with military-style trucks filled with fatigue-clad, armed personnel inside and black, windowless vehicles marked “police rescue vehicle."

The gunfire, described by police as a “tragic, massive act of violence,” terrorized residents of the typically tranquil suburb more than 25 miles outside Chicago. The median home in Highland Park is valued at $535,000, and more than 75 percent of people 25 and over have college degrees, according to census data.

President Joe Biden, in brief remarks Monday evening at the White House’s July Fourth event, said that he had spoken to both Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and that federal assistance was already being deployed. “We’ve got to get this under control,” Biden said before he led the crowd in a brief moment of silence for the victims and their families.

In Highland Park, Rotering thanked police officers for their fast response.

"Our community has been terrorized by an act of violence that’s shaken us to our core," she said.

The city said in a statement late Monday that it is working with local school and parks officials to offer counseling services Tuesday to students, education staff members and community members affected by the violence. It will be available at Highland Park High School on a walk-in basis from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., city spokesperson Amanda Civitello said.

Fourth of July events in other Chicago suburbs — Evanston, Deerfield and Skokie — were called off in the wake of the shooting.

"There’s a lot of communities that are not looking forward to celebrating after something like this happens right in their backyard," Covelli said. 

Pritzker, the governor, was at a planned Evanston event when the Highland Park shooting unfolded.

"There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families and children celebrating a holiday with their community," Pritzker said in a statement.

"I will stand firm with Illinoisans and Americans: we must — and we will — end this plague of gun violence."

It was the third major mass shooting in the U.S. since May.

Ten Black people were killed in Buffalo, New York, on May 14 when a white gunman, allegedly motivated by racial hate, opened fire at Tops Friendly Market.

Less than two weeks after the Buffalo massacre, 19 children and two teachers were gunned down at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, about 80 miles west of San Antonio.

The shootings pushed Congress to pass legislation aimed at gun control, which Biden signed into law on June 25.

The bill, the most sweeping legislation aimed at preventing gun violence in 30 years, provides grants to states for “red flag” laws, enhances background checks to include juvenile records and closes the “boyfriend loophole” by keeping guns away from unmarried dating partners convicted of abuse.

It will also require enhanced background checks for people ages 18 to 21 and funding for youth mental health services.

David K. Li reported from New York City, Natasha Korecki from Highland Park, Illinois, and Dennis Romero from California.