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Yacob Reyes
By Yacob Reyes July 7, 2022

No evidence ties Highland Park shooter to antifa

If Your Time is short

  • None of the images supposedly pulled from Crimo’s social media feeds have been verified and the evidence supporting their authenticity is thin.

  • Screenshots of Crimo’s supposed Instagram account omitted information, such as a username, that could have been used to verify it.

Authorities have identified Robert Crimo III as a suspect in a July 4 shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, that left seven people dead and more than two dozen injured.  

With that news came a flurry of unverified and false images misleadingly suggesting that Crimo is associated with a number of social or political ideologies.

A July 4 Facebook post that published several images from Crimo’s supposed Instagram account includes a screenshot of Crimo’s page bearing a flag associated with antifa, a broad left-wing coalition of anti-fascist activists.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Although Crimo did have a larger online presence than the suspects in recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, most of the 21-year-old’s social media accounts have been deleted. 

None of the images supposedly pulled from his social media accounts have been verified, and the evidence supporting their authenticity is thin. 

First, the screenshot with the antifa flag was cropped to exclude a username. It also lacks timeline indicators; there are no dates or times shown in the photos. 

Further, the account in the screenshot had little engagement. It had one follower and followed no other users — a sign that the Instagram account may have been recently created. 

Instagram did not immediately respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office could also not be reached for comment, but spokesperson Chris Covelli said in a July 5 briefing that Crimos’s online activity was still being reviewed. 

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The suggestion that Crimo had antifa ties also appeared in an article published by The Gateway Pundit, a conservative website that has spread misinformation in the past.

Most of the article’s proof relies on screenshots of unverified accounts — including screenshots used in the Facebook post — and speculation. 

For example, one image in The Gateway Pundit’s evidence collage depicts Crimo wearing a black beanie with the letter "A" on it, which the article claimed was short for antifa.  

However, it’s well documented that Crimo referred to himself by the pseudonym Awake the Rapper, which also starts with "A." The article also made unsubstantiated assumptions about Crimo’s tattoos and their meaning. 

We found no evidence from credible sources to corroborate claims that Crimo posted an antifa flag or that he has ties to the group. Information about Crimo’s political affiliation is also scarce. 

Videos from Crimo’s now-deleted YouTube channel showed him cheering for former President Donald Trump’s motorcade, according to NBC.

Our ruling

A Facebook post claimed that Crimo, the man apprehended for the mass shooting in Highland Park, had posted an antifa flag on Instagram.

The photo is unverified. And PolitiFact found no credible evidence to suggest that the account in the Facebook post belonged to Crimo or he had any ties to antifa. 

We rate this claim False. 

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No evidence ties Highland Park shooter to antifa

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