The death toll rises to seven


At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, authorities said a seventh person had died in the attack on the Highland Park parade and released the names of six other victims.

The victims were between 35 and 88 years old.

The briefing was Tuesday’s second as investigators continue to shed new light on the shooting that killed seven and injured more than 30 others.

Earlier, police said the man suspected during a July 4th parade in Highland Park on Monday morning allegedly planned the attack for several weeks before climbing a fire escape and firing at the crowd from the roof of a building.

The suspect, Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, 21, disguised himself as a woman to evade detection, according to Chris Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force. After firing more than 70 rounds, Crimo exited the roof, dropped the rifle, slipped into the crowd and headed to his mother’s house, Covelli said.

“Over the past 24 hours, investigators have spoken to numerous witnesses, some of the survivors, had the opportunity to review numerous video clips from cell phones and fixed cameras, and conducted a number of other follow-up inquiries,” Covelli said.

Investigators have not determined a motive, although Covelli said investigators were in “conversations” with Crimo. No one else appears to have been involved in the shooting.

The gun used in the attack was legally purchased by Crimo in Illinois, authorities said.

During Tuesday morning’s news conference, law enforcement officials offered more details about the attack and the investigation that followed.

“He brought a high-powered rifle to this parade. He climbed a fire escape onto the roof of a company and opened fire on the innocent Independence Day revelers,” Covelli said.

According to Covelli, investigators believe Crimo disguised himself as a woman to hide his facial tattoos and help him escape the crime scene.

After the escape, Crimo went to his mother’s house and borrowed her vehicle, Covelli said. There is no indication that he shared anything with his mother about his alleged involvement in the shooting.

After a police alert for the vehicle, an “alert member of the community” saw it and called 911.

After he was arrested, officers found another rifle in the vehicle, Covelli said, which also appeared to have been legally purchased by Crimo. Other weapons were found at his home in Highwood.

Crimo remains in custody and has not yet been charged.

Investigators are asking members of the community to come forward with any video they have of Crimo at the parade.

“The community has been absolutely amazing in terms of reporting information they may have, things they may have witnessed, and handing over videos,” said Covelli.

Details of the gun’s original purchase come from an expedited prosecution conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives following the shooting. The weapon was described by authorities as “high performance”.

The expedited tracking provided investigators with an “important clue,” according to Covelli.

He also told the Tribune that the FBI is sending an expert team to reconstruct the shooting, meaning items left along the parade route are likely to remain for several days.

The victims were between 8 and 85 years old. According to authorities, none of those killed were children.

Participants in the parade described hearing a barrage of bullets while watching floats and protesters on the street. People grabbed children and ran, taking cover in nearby businesses. A tuba player recalled watching people run in panic while his band played.

The attack shut down much of the North Shore while law enforcement from more than 100 agencies searched for the shooter. Parades and events in nearby towns have been canceled while many sheltered in place, leaving the streets quiet on the normally jubilant holiday.

The police arrested Crimo on Monday evening after hours of searching. He had previously been described by Highland Park Police as a “person of interest” in the case. After a brief chase, he was arrested without incident, authorities said.

Police seized a gun at the scene.

Crimo released videos online under the name The Awake Rapper, some with chilling references to violence, including one showing footage of a young man in a bedroom and a classroom, and cartoons of a gunman and people being shot.

In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said she knew the suspect when he was a little boy and was a Girl Scout leader.

“Is that one of those things where you take a step back and say what happened? How did someone get so angry, so hateful, and then take it out on innocent people who literally just had a family day,” Rotering said in the interview.

As of Tuesday morning, downtown Highland Park was still littered with debris left behind during the shooting. The parade route was lined with abandoned deckchairs and prams. American flags waved.

Some stunned residents tried to go about their normal routines as they braced for more news of the dead and injured. Others collected rubbish outside the area still cordoned off by police.

In one instance, officers let a sobbing woman through police tape to find a car seat.

Outside the Highland Park Police Department, two young girls wrote on the sidewalk in colored chalk, “Thank you, first responders.”

Small monuments appeared in the area on Tuesday. Samantha Lanty and Meghan Higginson, both 20, studied under yellow crime scenes and placed a bouquet of white flowers on the sidewalk. The women recalled taking part in the parade as children and growing up with active rifle practice.

“How many more events must happen before someone changes anything?” Lanty said.

A block from the parade route, a group of men met for coffee near a Starbucks where they have been meeting every morning for the past 15 years. They had to bring their morning coffee from Dunkin’ because their store was closed.

“We meet here every day to talk about fun things in a normal way. It’s not that fun today,” said Andrew Stone of Highland Park. “It’s such a small community. We will all know someone who has been hurt.”

The men tried to find out which of the people they knew had been shot. A family friend received a bullet in the foot. A woman in the temple had been killed, they found out.

They argued about why it happened here, in the close-knit community they once thought safe. Across the table, Jim Terman said he watched the parade from the block where the shooting took place. He can’t stop thinking about it.

“It’s just in your head,” he said.

Authorities have not released the names of the victims, but details of some of those killed and injured have emerged.

Among those killed was Jacki Sundheim, who prayed and coordinated events at a synagogue in Glencoe.

Among those injured were Chicago Public Schools teacher Zoe Kolpack, who was shot in the thigh while attending the parade with her husband Stephen; her two young children; their parents; and Stephen’s family, according to Samantha Whitehead, a family friend who is raising money for medical expenses.

afternoon meeting

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Whitehead said Stephen Kolpack and Zoe’s father Mike Joyce were also shot in the leg, while Stephen’s brother Nicholas was shot in the kneecap. The injuries are not life-threatening and the Kolpack children were unharmed, Whitehead said.

Whitehead said Zoe’s mother, Nancy Joyce, grabbed the two young children and hid in a nearby building for about 45 minutes until they were given the all-clear.

Meanwhile, Zoe’s father “hovered over her and protected her because she couldn’t move. And she just said that people just ran past her and she just yelled, “Help, help.” She said she felt like it took about 30 minutes,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead had raised about $140,000 via GoFundMe as of Tuesday morning.

In a statement, CPS said it was “devastated to learn that one of our CPS teachers and her family members were among those injured in Monday’s mass shooting in Highland Park.” Zoe, who has worked for the district since 2017, teaches preschool at William Dever Elementary School on the Northwest Side. CPS said, “Support services will be available to assist Dever Primary School staff and students as needed.”

Check for updates again.

Chicago Tribune reporter Emily Hoerner contributed.


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