He grew up in the save Highland Park neighborhood where the mass shooting took place. The calm, quiet stereotypical “picket fence” neighborhood used as the backdrop of Hollywood blockbuster movies “Home Alone” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” but somewhere along the lines, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III became an angry, hostile young man whose mind wandered to mayhem.

On Monday, as the country was celebrating Independence Day, a man climbed atop a roof, pulled out a high-powered rifle and opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd of people attending a Fourth of July parade in a northern Chicago suburb. The mass shooting left six people dead, nearly 30 injured and a nation with yet another gaping open wound due to gun violence.

Law enforcement identified the person of interest in the shooting as Crimo, who was apprehended hours later following a police chase.


And while no explanation has been given as of yet on why the shooting took place – and Crimo has not been officially charged – his background has been the spotlight as investigators try to figure out his “why.”

“He was just a little boy,” said Nancy Rotering, the current mayor of Highland Park.

Rotering made that statement to NBC Today Show hosts who questioned her about the incident.

Everyone was shocked to learn that, not only did Crimo’s father actually once run against her as a mayoral candidate, but she was Crimo’s former Cub Scout leader, and remembered him as a normal boy.

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But something has happened between then and now as Crimo, a rapper who goes by the name “Awake,” according to his IMDb page, has posted multiple videos depicting violence in various settings, including school classrooms, and what appears to be signs of a plan and desire for carnage. His songs have thought-pausing titles such as “On My Mind,” and “Love Me Even Though I Don’t Love Myself.”

“It’s one of those things when you step back and say ‘what happened?'” said Rotering. “How did somebody become this angry, this hateful to then take it out on innocent people who were literally just having a family day out.”