A person of interest shooting in Highland Park has left a trail of violent images online

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, the person of interest identified by police after Monday’s shooting in a Chicago suburb that killed six people and injured 38 others, left a long trail tributes to mass shootings and public killings on social media platforms, according to numerous profiles that appear to belong to him.

Crimo performed as a rapper who went by the name “Awake,” whose recent music videos have included depictions of mass murder.

Crimo’s most recent video posted to YouTube showed him the day after a school shooting. It ends with Crimo draping himself in an American flag. Another music video showed a cartoon depiction of a man wearing a shirt with his YouTube channel’s logo on it, holding a long gun and being shot by police.

The YouTube account that hosted his videos, which were previously publicly available, was unavailable Monday night.

Police investigate outside the home of the mother of the man detained in the mass shooting during a 4th of July parade on July 4, 2022 in Highland Park, Illinois.Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Crimo had his own Discord server, where fans and people who knew him chatted. The community featured a political council filled with nihilistic political memes. The most recent post before the shooting, which was posted in March, was a photo of Budd Dwyer, the Pennsylvania state treasurer who killed himself on live television in the late 1980s, flanked by the caption “I wish politicians still give speeches like this.”

On Discord, fans were sharing posts Crimo had made of himself. An apparent selfie Crimo took in March reads: “Screenshot the cursed image and send it to everyone or don’t commit anymore alive,” a reference to suicide.

After Monday’s shooting, 4chan trolls swarmed the community, using it as a meeting point to congratulate the shooter and post memes about the attack. The Discord channel was shut down around 6 p.m. ET, just hours after Crimo was named as a person of interest.

Crimo also posted frequently on a message board that discussed graphic depictions of murder, suicide, and death. His most recent post on this board was last week, when he posted a video of a beheading.

Crimo has not frequently posted major political figures on its websites, with the exception of two posts about former President Donald Trump.

A video posted to Crimo’s YouTube page on January 2, 2021 appears to show Crimo among a crowd of protesters cheering for Trump’s presidential motorcade outside an airport. Crimo reverses the phone’s orientation to reveal his face at the end of the video.

Crimo is also seen draped in a Trump flag in a June 27, 2021 post on Twitter. The message is captioned with only the word “spam”.

Mark Heymann, 22, who said he went to Highland Park High School with Crimo, said Crimo was a rapper who released music when they were in school together.

Heymann said he didn’t remember much of Crimo. “He always seemed a little off, but I can’t describe it much further than that,” he said.

Crimo’s father, who would have owned convenience storesstaged an unsuccessful run for mayor of Highland Park in 2019.

In the neighborhood, the family was known as quiet people who kept to themselves, people who lived in the neighborhood said.

Michael Gammel, who lives next door, recalled a conversation in which the elder Crimo alluded to his son having problems at school which the father described as “emotional problems”.

Gammel and another neighbor who did not want to be identified remembered the young Crimo riding around on an electric scooter with loud music playing so people knew when he was coming and going. The last time, Gammel said, was Monday morning around 10 a.m.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.

Denis Romero, Rima Abdelkader, Sarah Kaufman and Maya Brown contributed.

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