The online history of a Highland Park suspect reveals a fascination for violence

One conclusion emerges from the thousands of messages and videos, photos, videos, and songs that Robert Crimo III posted online.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
06 July 2022 Wednesday 02:18
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The online history of a Highland Park suspect reveals a fascination for violence

One conclusion emerges from the thousands of messages and videos, photos, videos, and songs that Robert Crimo III posted online. Crimo, a 21-year old suspect in the shooting at a Fourth of July parade near Chicago, is unusually interested in violence.

Two of his music videos featured some type of shooting. He shared a picture of Budd Dwyer on Discord. This was a politician who committed suicide during a live press conference. He also posted thousands of photos to an online forum that allowed him to share videos and violent photos of people who are dying.

Jared Holt, an Atlantic Council fellow who studies domestic extremism, said, "It was pretty obvious that this suspect had a past online of glorifying violence and fantasizing about it."

At a Tuesday press conference, Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff's Office stated that officials are looking into Crimo's online activities. Covelli was asked if anyone has ever called the local police to raise concerns about Crimo’s online content.

There are many variations of the name "Awake" Crimo has posted frequently to YouTube.

Crimo's music was listened to millions upon millions on Spotify before it was removed after the shooting. A Discord server was set up by Crimo to allow his fans to share memes and link directly to his songs.

Holt described Crimo’s online footprint as being in line with movements trying to "make themselves appear very intense and very brutal to accumulate a certain degree of perverted influence among other people in similar online spaces."

He said that there are parts of the internet who pride themselves on the fetishization and use of violence as offensive as possible.

One of the most alarming is Crimo's activities on Documenting Reality forum, where people post graphic photos and videos showing the aftermath of violence.

A user called "Awake47", shared images of Crimo, and also posted a 21-year-old birthday message. This information matches the FBI's. He regularly shared footage of shootings, and other real-life violence.

When police published a photo of him during Monday's manhunt, other forum members recognized his face. "I knew there was at most one murderer on this forum, but I don't believe he is the only one. But Are You Awake? One user wrote, "Wow!"

Crimo's obsession with violence was also evident in his music, which Crimo published on Spotify and YouTube under the title Awake the Rapper.

A crudely animated video shows a young man in tactical gear shooting people. Police then appear to arrest him and shoot him aEUR." The refrain is: "Living in the dream, everything's real. I just want to shout "fuck this world!"

Crimo is seen sitting in a classroom alone in another music video. He grabs a backpack and then cuts to Crimo in a helmet with a tactical vest.

It is not possible to determine whether Crimo was ideologically motivated by the shootings. Authorities deny that there is any evidence that the shooting was motivated by religious or racial beliefs.

Some images of Crimo were quickly shared on social media after Monday's shooting. One photo showed him wearing a Trump flag across both his shoulders and another from a Trump rally. Crimo posted a video of him waiting for Trump to arrive in Air Force One.

Holt said that a few photos alone are not sufficient to show political leanings or right-wing extremism. He said that he hasn't yet seen any evidence that would place this in the category of politically motivated violence.

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