Highland Park shooter Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo, who killed six and injured at least 38 people after he opened fire at a 4th of July parade on Monday, left a long trail of tributes to mass shootings and public killings on social media platforms that also indicate that he might have been planning this massacre since 2021. At least, one of his posts indicates that.
In his most recent YouTube video, Crimo was seen right after a school shooting. The public-accessible YouTube account that previously housed his recordings was inaccessible Monday night. Interestingly, Crimo, who was on the run for hours after the shooting, was arrested after digital evidence helped investigators determine him as the suspect.
Obsessed with Mass Shooting
Crimo's social media posts appear to be about mass shootings and public killings. His last video posted on YouTube showed him in the aftermath of a school shooting. Crimo, who goes by the "Awake the Rapper", is seen wrapped in an American flag to signify the conclusion.
Another music video included a cartoon of a man being shot by cops while clutching a long gun and wearing a shirt with the logo of his YouTube channel on it.
The rapper, who has an average of 16,46 listens per month on Spotify, posted a cryptic song titled "Are You Awake." The song seems to imply that Crimo was preparing to do a life-defining act that would have been impossible for him to stop.
Drawings from the footage show a man shooting a firearm at another individual. The video also shows a photograph of a news article about Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed President John F. Kennedy, as well as another photograph of a victim who has been shot and whose body is covered in blood.
"Like a sleepwalker, I am unable to stop and think," he says in the track. "My actions will be valiant and my thought is unnecessary. I know what I have to do, I know what's in it, not only for me, but for everyone else."
"There is no past or future, just the now," he adds. "It is more abstract than I can ever imagine. I can feel the atmosphere pushing me in. It's unstoppable, like a wave pulling me under, I can't breathe without it."
"I need to leave now, I need to just do it. It is my destiny, everything has led up to this," Crimo says. "Nothing can stop me, not even myself. Is there such thing as free will, or has this been planned out, like a cosmic recipe?"
It is still not known how Crimo got access to the weapons and if they belong to him but he had definitely been planning to carry out a mass shooting for at least nine months now.
Crimo had his own Discord server where friends and admirers could interact. The community had a political message board with cynical political memes. One apparent selfie Crimo took in March reads: "Cursed image screenshot and send to everyone or commit not alive anymore," a reference to suicide.
After the massacre on Monday, 4chan trolls invaded the community, using it as a gathering place to praise the shooter and share jokes about the incident. Just hours after Crimo was listed as a person of interest, the Discord channel was closed at roughly 6 pm.
Crimo also frequently commented in a forum where people discussed violent depictions of homicide, suicide, and death. Last Monday, he made his most recent posting to that message board, uploading a video of a beheading.
With the exception of two postings regarding former President Donald Trump, Crimo didn't typically write about influential political people on his blogs. However, he was an ardent Trump admirer and had attended at least a couple of his rallies.
On Monday, Crimo was on the run for a few hours before being arrested. Crimo, who was driving a 2010 Honda Fit, was arrested and jailed without incident in Lake Forest, Illinois, after he tried to employ vehicle evasive maneuvers to no avail.
Interestingly, the digital evidence of violence that Crimo had left behind helped police in tracking him. Speaking on behalf of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force during an evening news conference, Christopher Covelli said authorities had "processed a significant amount of digital evidence today which helped lead investigators" toward identifying Crimo as a suspect.