Mass shooting suspect, quickly pegged as ‘pro-Trump right-wing nut job,’ is rapper named ‘Awake’

Investigations are still underway after a tragic shooting at an Independence Day celebration outside Chicago left six dead and more than two dozen wounded. But the reality that facts are still being sorted out hasn’t stopped narrative peddlers from assigning affiliations to the suspect with one particular former president in mind.

Shortly after the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill. had begun Monday, a suspect identified as 22-year-old Robert “Bobby” Crimo allegedly began shooting at spectators from a rooftop with a rifle. The violent rampage resulted in at least six killed and dozens more wounded with victims ranging in age from eight- to 85 years old, according to WGN-TV.

Crimo was identified by authorities who had spent eight hours searching for the suspect after he fled the scene with the FBI releasing a reward for the man who was said to be “known to law enforcement.” The description detailed the suspect’s tattoos as “four tally marks with a line through them on his right cheek, red roses and green leaves on his neck, and cursive script above his left eyebrow,” which was reported as reading “awake.”

Once the suspect’s identity had been made public, his social media activity was scoured by would-be sleuths determined to satisfy predetermined conclusions that he was “right-wing” while labeling him as a fan or supporter of former President Donald Trump.

The verifiable facts regarding the suspect’s background included his Spotify account where he posted music under the alias “Awake the Rapper,” claimed to have a net worth of $100,000 and boasted a following of over 16,000 followers per month on the streaming service, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Additional content online appeared to present conflicting details of the suspect’s political leanings as much was presented without context. Some of the images presented as “evidence” of the suspect’s preference for Trump included attendance at a rally where he was surrounded by people waving Trump flags.

On at least one occasion he is seen wearing what appeared to be a “Where’s Waldo” costume.

Others made claims about posts that the suspect had made without providing quotes or linking to the original source saying he “literally posted maga sh*t” as an example and presented him in a shirt adorned with a symbol associated with the “alt-right movement.”

Warning: Language

As expressed, the suspect’s father Bob Crimo Sr, 58, had run for mayor of Highland Park in 2019 only to lose to the current mayor, liberal Nancy Rotering, who ran on a platform about gun control, according to the Daily Mail. Crimo Sr is a local deli owner whose Twitter page follows only one account – “an archived account of ex-President Donald Trump’s tweets.” The outlet also stated that on May 27, the father had liked a tweet that read, “Protect the Second Amendment like your life depends on it,” only days after the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.

The suspect’s mother, Denise Pesina, 48, was arrested in February 2015 on charges of domestic battery while driving, according to She was said to have studied Traditional Chinese Medicine at Shanghai University in addition to attending The Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico before becoming a healer with Trilogy Energy Systems and was described as a Mormon.

However, there was just as much evidence presented to suggest the exact opposite was true of the suspect with many first pointing to the appearance of the man as proof enough that he wasn’t conservative. “Stop spreading lies that he’s a Trump supporter,” one person wrote. “Just look at him. He’s no Republican.”

And where others had made claims about comments made by the suspect, some actually brought receipts to his alleged remarks and shared details about where his affiliations may truly reside.




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Kevin Haggerty


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