More details unfold about mass shooting suspect and his family: ‘Too many warning signs to count’

The suspect in the deadly Independence Day shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, in which 6 were killed and dozens injured, turns out to be a 22-year-old rapper with a somewhat questionable history of mental health but an overall fairly successful career.

Robert “Bobby” Crimo, III, was identified as the shooter, and further sleuthing has elucidated the fact that he’s a Trump-supporting rapper (a point that will be much emphasized by the media in the days ahead) who goes by the name of “Awake the Rapper,” and seems to have a net worth of $100,000. He also boasts some 16,000 monthly listeners on the music-streaming platform Spotify.

An image of Crimo dressed as “Waldo” at a Trump rally.
Crimo, pictured in his typical getup as “Awake the Rapper.”

According to the Daily Mail, Crimo posted an assortment of music videos last year that contain a number of disturbing images, including drawings of an active shooter being gunned down by police, as well as scenes filmed in a mock-up of a school classroom in which Crimo scatters bullets on the floor.

A drawing from one of Crimo’s music videos, showing a gunman lying in a pool of blood.

The wealth of information online about Crimo stands in stark contrast to the usual shooting suspects, who are often unknown and ignored.

Crimo was quite successful for a 22-year-old, and although his choice for a career path might be questionable to some, it seemed to be paying off. Which makes the decision to throw it all away in another senseless mass shooting all the more inexplicable.

Obviously, violence was an obsession with Crimo, who maintained a Discord server to converse with fans and friends. As reported in the Mail, Crimo’s last post on his server was a picture of Budd Dwyer, a Pennsylvania state treasurer who committed suicide on live TV. Crimo apparently captioned the picture with the statement: “I wish politicians still gave speeches like this.”

Details have also emerged about Crimo’s parents. His father, Bob Crimo, is a local restaurant owner who ran for mayor of Highland Park in 2019, losing to the current mayor. He seems to have run without the backing of any political party. “I’m running as mayor as a person for the people in our community,” his profile explained. “It’s my way of giving back to the community who have been so supportive of me over the years. I live local and I will stay local.”

The suspect’s mother, Denise Pesina, has an even more interesting history. The Daily Mail reports that her Facebook page—which appears to have since been deleted—indicated she had become a Mormon, and that she was interested in “alternative healing.” She is apparently a healer with a business called Trilogy Energy Systems, which claims to be “committed to the wellbeing of ALL energy systems.” Her profile also states that she studied Traditional Chinese Medicine at Shanghai University, and attended The Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico.

The suspect’s mother, Denise Pesina, is an alternative healer who was arrested for domestic abuse in 2015.

The site also records that Pesina was arrested and charged with domestic battery in 2015.

The suspect’s IMBb page describes him as a “rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and director from Chicago,” and his Spotify page lists his specific musical genre as “LoFi rap.” Crimo has a fairly extensive musical repertoire, including three albums: 2017’s “Messages,” 2018’s “Observer,” and “Awake the Rapper” in 2021.

Whatever his previous success, Crimo’s brief career as a rapper has now come to an end, as he’ll likely spend the rest of his days in prison.


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Todd Jaquith


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