For millions, the Fourth of July is a patriotic, fun-filled day of cookouts, parades, and fireworks lighting up the evening sky. However, on Monday, July 4, 2022, the peaceful community of Highland Park, IL, was changed forever.
According to CNN, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III had planned the attack for weeks. Disguised as a woman, he climbed to the rooftop of a building and opened fire on a crowd that had gathered to watch the Independence Day parade. The weapon used was a high-powered AR-15-style rifle. About 20 minutes after the parade started, Crimo fired approximately 70 rounds, killing seven people and injuring dozens more. He currently faces seven charges of first-degree murder and will make his first court appearance on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. If convicted, Crimo faces life in prison without the possibility of parole as there is no death penalty in Illinois.
The gun was legally acquired, but the question is how. Crimo had two prior encounters with the police in 2019. The activity was based on fear for his safety and that of others. Over the next two years, he purchased rifles, pistols, and a shotgun. There is no motive for Crimo’s attack, and it does not appear to focus on any race, religion, or other protected status. Before the shooting, he had created and posted violent content on social media depicting gun violence. Other online postings suggest plans to commit a crime long in the making.
A doctor that was present for the holiday events called the wounds “wartime injuries,” noting that the powerful gunfire had “blown up” the deceased. This incident felt different as media images captured law enforcement officials assisting victims beneath an American flag waving in the air. It created a new perspective on the 311 mass shootings that have occurred so far this year in the United States.