By Pesach Benson, United with Israel
Robert Crimo III, who is accused of opening fire on a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb, was indicted by a grand jury on 117 felony charges on Wednesday.
Crimo faces the possibility of life behind bars for the attack. He is charged with multiple first-degree murder counts, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery. According to police, Crimo confessed and said he also considered carrying out a second mass shooting in Madison, Wisconsin.
Seven people were killed and more than 40 were injured in the shooting attack on the parade in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb with a significant Jewish population.
Four of the seven fatalities were Jews. Jackie Sundheim was a 63-year-old events coordinator at the North Shore Congregation Israel. Stephen Straus was an 88-year-old financial adviser. And Kevin and Irina McCarthy, left behind a two-year-old son, Aiden. Kevin was shielding the toddler with his body when he was hit.
Crimo’s indictment comes as the U.S. debates gun control laws amid a spate of mass shootings, most notably in an Uvalde elementary school (22 killed, mostly young children), a Buffalo minimarket (10 killed) and a Sacramento gang shootout in which 10 people were killed, including gang members and bystanders.
But lost in the impassioned gun control debate is an additional context to the Highland Park massacre which media reports have failed to report: Crimo’s antisemitic views as a motive.
Crimo’s Antisemitism Hidden in Plain Sight
The 21-year-old Crimo left behind enough antisemitic footprints on social media to warrant the news industry’s attention.
According to StopAntisemitism.org, the bio on Crimo’s 4Chan social media account included “Holocaust denial, antisemitic and anti-Black language.”
Crimo also posted images of himself wearing a Pepe the Frog shirt. Pepe the Frog is a symbol associated with the alt-right movement, including neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacy groups online. The frog has even been added to the Anti-Defamation League’s database of antisemitic symbols.
Even more damning, after Crimo’s arrest, Highland Park Chabad emissary Rabbi Yosef Schanowitz told police that Crimo had showed up at his Central Avenue Synagogue around Passover time. The rabbi told police Crimo wore a yarmulke but “seemed out of place.” A security guard kept an eye on Crimo, who left without incident after a few minutes of just looking around.
Rabbi Schanowitz said he now believes that Crimo was surveilling the synagogue, which is just two blocks from where the parade shooting took place.
However, coverage of the indictment by key news services, including the Associated Press, CNN and the Washington Post has not mentioned Crimo’s antisemitic background.
While Reuters mentioned antisemitism, it quoted police as saying “they had no immediate evidence of any anti-Semitic or racist basis for the attack.”
“The area has a large Jewish community. Investigators were reviewing videos Crimo had posted on social media containing violent imagery,” added the Reuters report.
Crimo didn’t write a 180-page antisemitic and racist manifesto like Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron, but the signs of his hatred are in plain sight for journalists.