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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Arrest Made in Highland Park Fourth of July Parade Mass Shooting

A rifle was recovered at scene, and people in the area were urged to shelter in place as other cities canceled their own Fourth festivities.

A manhunt and police pursuit ended this evening with the arrest of a person of interest in the mass shooting that killed at least six people this morning at the Highland Park, Ill., Fourth of July parade.

Highland Park Police Department Patrol Commander Chris O’Neill, the incident commander on the scene, told reporters that the mass shooting began at 10:14 a.m.

The shooter fled the scene and police described him as a white male about 18-20 years old with “longer black hair,” a small build, and a white or blue T-shirt. A “high-powered” rifle was recovered at scene.

“Individuals are still urged to shelter in place at this time,” O’Neill said.

By early this evening, police released information on a person of interest: Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, 22. The local resident was believed to be driving a 2010 Silver Honda Fit, Illinois license plate DM80653.

A North Chicago police officer spotted the car at about 6:30 p.m. Police pursued Crimo to Lake Forest, where he surrendered to officers.

At least 31 people were injured in the mass shooting. O’Neill urged any with photographic or video evidence from the parade or area around the time of the shooting to contact police.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief and Public Information Officer Chris Covelli said at a press conference earlier in the day that the attack “appears to be completely random.”

Covelli said it appeared that the assailant was shooting from a roof, and there was believed to be only one shooter involved. “The roof was a business and it looks like access to the roof via a ladder in an alley was unsecure,” Covelli said at the day’s third press conference.

A witness told CNN that at least 50 rounds were heard as gunfire erupted during the parade. Covelli said it appeared that spectators were targeted. He said the shooter stopped firing as law enforcement approached.

The FBI is working with the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force on a “very methodical processing of the scene,” Covelli said. 

“Our community was terrorized by an act of violence that has shaken us to our core,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said, noting that the city has received an outpouring of support and offers of resources. “We will avail ourselves of everything that is offered to us immediately.”

With the shooting still an active situation, Rotering advised residents to “be on high alert but remain calm.”

Asked whether fireworks events would be safe tonight, Covelli replied that was for individual communities to assess on their own. “Could this happen again? We don’t know what his intentions are at this point,” he said at a later press conference.

“Due to a tragic mass shooting that took place earlier this morning in Highland Park, the City of Evanston will be canceling this year’s 4th of July Parade and celebrations effective immediately,” the city said in a press release this afternoon. “While there is no known threat to Evanston residents, the shooter is still at large; therefore, cancelations are taking place in an abundance of caution.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors to the north,” the city of Evanston added.

“Out of respect for the victims of the shooting in Highland Park earlier today, and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our community, tonight’s fireworks at Duke Childs Field have been cancelled,” the Village of Winnetka tweeted. “Our thoughts are with our friends and neighbors in Highland Park.”

DHS spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa tweeted that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “has been briefed on the shooting” and “is coordinating with local, state, and federal partners to offer the Department’s support as we continue to learn more about this tragic incident.”

President Biden said in a statement that he spoke to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Rotering, and “surged Federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter, who remains at large at this time.”

“Members of the community should follow guidance from leadership on the ground, and I will monitor closely as we learn more about those whose lives have been lost and pray for those who are in the hospital with grievous injuries,” Biden said.

“It’s evident that society is becoming more violent every day. Even our most sacred small-town parades are not free from domestic terrorists and gun violence,” Brian Harrell, former assistant secretary at DHS and current advisor to Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), told HSToday. “This is further evidence that state, local, and federal officials must always plan for the worst. To combat this issue, we need firearm reform to address access, review mental health concerns, and always embrace security planning and response, using all the the tools available to us — from preparedness and training to new technologies that enable faster detection and response. It’s another sad day in America.”

This story was updated at 8:30 p.m. EST

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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