Accused Highland Park gunman Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III posted video game clips online showing his character shooting at opponents from rooftops in an eerily similar fashion to how Monday’s slaughter played out.
The videos, obtained by The Daily Mail, reportedly show Crimo and other Call of Duty gamers directing each other and laughing as they play the violent game, with Crimo’s avatar at one point standing on top of a building and firing down on other players.
On the Fourth of July, Crimo, 21, climbed onto the roof of a business in the ritzy Chicago suburb and allegedly fired over 80 rounds from a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle at paradegoers below, killing seven people and injuring dozens more, according to prosecutors.
For decades, experts have argued whether playing violent video games leads to increased violent activity in reality. Some argue that it causes players, mainly young men, to become desensitized to violence, while others have argued it offers an outlet for players’ aggressive behavior.
Gun advocates have been quick to blame video games for violence in the wake of mass shootings across the US.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut in 2012, in which 26 people were killed, including 20 children, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre placed part of the blame on violent video games.
After 10 people were murdered in Santa Fe, Texa, in a mass shooting in 2018, then-NRA President Oliver North also blamed games and other violent media.
Other online clips obtained by the Daily Mail offered some insight into Crimo’s life.
More coverage on the Highland Park parade shooting
Crimo, who went by his rap name Awake the Rapper, livestreamed a video of himself building the small shed where he lived in his parents’ backyard at the time of the shooting.
“What’s up, communists?” he says to his viewers at the beginning of the video, before going into his plans to build “a cabin in the city,” according to the Daily Mail.
Crimo then shows off his car, which he refers to as the “P—y magnet.” The car appears to have shark-like teeth painted on the front, the number “47” painted on the driver-side door and “P—y magnet” written in stickers across the top of the windshield.
While interacting with live viewers, Crimo says at one point “Death to America.” He describes how he hopes his home will look once it’s complete. He signs off the livestream saying “Goodbye Mr. FBI agent.” A separate video titled “Just do it” shows the shed fully built and painted.
In another video obtained by the outlet, called “Smiley Face Soldier (Speed Painting),” Crimo paints a life-sized mural of a soldier in camouflage with a yellow, smiley-face head on the outdoor wall of his parents house.
The alleged shooter appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday where he appeared uncannily calm as a judge ordered he be held without bail.
The mass shooting happened fewer than three years after police were called to Crimo’s home in September 2019 after he reportedly threatened to “kill everyone” there, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said.