Chicago Stations Go All Out on Highland Park Massacre

CBS News and WBBM Chicago cover the mass shooting in Highland Park
CBS News and WBBM Chicago cover the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. (Image credit: CBS News)

Chicago stations are, of course, all over the mass shooting at a July 4 parade in suburban Highland Park. WLS, part of the ABC group, reports that suspect Robert Crimo had planned the assault for weeks, and had legally purchased his gun. Reporter Diane Pathieu reported how Crimo, after the shooting, climbed down from the roof on a ladder, mixed in with the crowd and walked to his mother’s home. 

“Still don’t know a motive yet,” she added, “and still don’t know if he’s cooperating with authorities or if authorities are trying to piece [a motive] together themselves.”

WGN reported that the 21-year-old suspect blended in with the crowd after donning a dress and a wig, perhaps in part to hide tattoos on his face and neck. WFLD, known as Fox 32, reported that Crimo had the dress and wig on when he conducted the massacre. 

"During the attack, Crimo was dressed in women's clothing," Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said, according to WFLD. "Investigators do believe he did this to conceal his facial tattoos and his identity and help him during the escape with the other people who were fleeing the chaos."

Crimo is a suspect in the murder of seven people and the wounding of more than 30. NBCU-owned WMAQ noted that none of the murder victims are children. The station added that no motive has emerged for Crimo: "[The] shooting appears to be completely random," Covelli said, adding that "we have no information to suggest at this point it was racially-motivated, motivated by religion or any other protected status."

The horrific story represented an opportunity for CBS News and owned station WBBM to work together, as CBS News and Stations spoke of last week. Charges are likely to be filed late Tuesday (July 5), according to Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, per a WBBM report.

WBBM’s Megan Hickey called Crimo “a prolific rapper” with lots of music videos. “They are graphic,” she said. “Some are violent and some depict gun violence.”

Crimo has “an extensive digital footprint,” she added, though much has been taken down following the massacre.  

Crimo was arrested around 6:30 p.m. on July 4. Univision-aligned WGBO said an officer chased the suspect, and arrested him around five miles north of the scene of the shooting. 

WBBM reports that 39 people were treated at hospitals following the Highland Park shooting, and 28 have been discharged.

WGN also reported three fatal shootings at a block party in Gary, Indiana, about 30 miles from Chicago, and three people shot, with one fatality, at a party on Chicago’s South Side. ■

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.