The suspect in the Highland Park shooting “planned his attack several weeks in advance” and wore women’s clothing as a disguise so he could escape the mass shooting scene where he had just killed six victims, according to law enforcement.
Robert Cremo III, a 21-year-old local man, was arrested Monday evening after an eight-hour chase, when he was seen driving along an Illinois highway in his mother’s car.
Lake County Staff Sgt. Christopher Coveley said at a news conference Tuesday that Cremo was captured in video wearing women’s clothing so he could blend in with the crowd of terrified show-goers fleeing the massacre site.
He said he could not confirm whether the suspect was wearing a wig at the time.
Sgt. Covelli said Cremo took his AR-15 to the July 4 parade route in Highland Park where families, friends and locals gathered to celebrate Independence Day.
The gunman then climbed the fire escape ladder to the roof of a nearby store, and set up a sniper position.
At about 10.14 a.m. — just 14 minutes after the July 4 show — he opened fire, unleashing more than 70 rounds of bullets into a crowd of show-goers and participants below, officials said.
The 21-year-old – who officials previously mistakenly said was 22 – then came down from the rooftop and hid in plain sight, returning to his mother’s house.
Sergeant Covelli said there was no indication that Mr. Cremo had told his mother what he had just done and there was no evidence that anyone else was involved in the massacre.
The suspect was later tracked down and arrested on a highway after police released his name and photo to the public, prompting a passerby to discover and contact him.
In addition to the high-powered rifle used in the attack – which was left at the scene – Mr. Kremo was also armed with a second rifle inside his car when he was captured.
A search of his home also revealed several other firearms including pistols.
Police said all the firearms were legally purchased through several locations in the nearby area and were registered in his name.
Highland Park has a ban on assault rifles, which the current mayor instituted in 2013.
The motive for the attack is still unknown.
However, Sergeant Coviglio said, “We believe Cremo planned the attack several weeks in advance.”
Officials were also questioned about whether warning signs had been missed, as it has since emerged that Mr. Kremo posted several disturbing videos glorifying violence online prior to the attack.
Sergeant Coveli said the investigation was still ongoing.
Cremo, whose father made a failed bid for Mayor of Highland Park but lost to current Mayor Nancy Rottering, is also an amateur rapper with the name Awake the Rapper who has over 16,000 listeners per month on his Spotify page.
One music video released witch shootings at the school while he also shared a video of his beheading on a separate platform.
Despite this revelation, his uncle saidCNN He saw “no signs” that his reclusive nephew would continue the mass shooting.
Cremo has yet to be charged over the mass shooting, but officials expect charges to be filed later Tuesday over the mass shooting that killed six victims.
Sergeant Coveli confirmed Tuesday that all six victims were adults, and none of the injured children were among the dead.
Five of the victims died at the scene, while the sixth succumbed to his injuries after being taken to hospital.
The first details began to emerge about the victims with the family of 76-year-old Grandpa Nicholas Toledo confirming his death on Monday afternoon.
The elderly man, who holds dual American and Mexican citizenship, used a wheelchair and was sitting in it watching the show when he was shot.
Mr. Toledo’s granddaughter told the The New York Times They were “all in shock” and revealed that her grandfather didn’t want to go to the show but only agreed to go so he could participate in the festivities with his family.
The second victim was also identified Monday night as a devoted member of a local synagogue and the mother of a married daughter.
The North Shore congregation in Israel remembered Jackie Sondheim as a ‘lifelong’ devotee and a ‘dear’ employee whose work, kindness and warmth we have all touched.
Besides the six victims who were killed, 38 people were taken to local hospitals for treatment.
By Tuesday morning, eight patients were still receiving treatment and their cases are currently unknown.
President Joe Biden condemned the shooting and said it showed there was “a lot of work to be done” to tackle gun violence in America — the attack came just weeks after 21 students and teachers were killed in a mass shooting in Ovaldi, Texas, and 10 blacks were killed. Shot in a racist attack in Buffalo, New York.