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Highland Park mayor says she was Cub Scout leader for person of interest in July 4 shooting

“He was just a little boy,” Mayor Nancy Rotering told TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

The mayor of Highland Park, Illinois, where six people were killed and dozens were injured during a mass shooting at a July 4 parade, says she served as the Cub Scout leader for the person apprehended in connection with the attack.

Police say Robert Crimo III could be considered a suspect in the case. During an interview with Hoda Kotb Tuesday on TODAY, Mayor Nancy Rotering says she does not believe police were aware of him prior to Monday, but she says she was familiar with him.

“I know him as somebody who was a Cub Scout when I was the Cub Scout leader,” Rotering said. “And it’s one of those things where you step back and you say, ‘What happened?’ How did somebody become this angry, this hateful to then take it out on innocent people who, literally, were just having a family day out?”

When asked about what she knew about Crimo as a child, Rotering remained succinct.

“He was just a little boy,” she said.

Crimo has not been charged with any crime. Rotering, who said the gun used in the attack was obtained legally, mentioned the damage in the aftermath of the shooting will linger in Highland Park.

“Our community is never going to recover from this wound,” she said. “We’re a strong, strong group of people. Many, many generations live here together. It’s one of those unique things about my hometown, that people come back to raise their children, their grandparents are with them. This is an absolutely devastating blow to all of us.”

Rotering says this latest mass shooting, coming on the heels of attacks in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, serve as a reminder that change needs to happen.

“We, as a country, have to have a very strong conversation with ourselves,” she said. “I don’t know how many more of these events need to occur. We’ve been talking about this, literally, for decades at this point. And it’s one of those things where you ask yourself, if this reflects the values of who we are, then what does that say about us as a nation?”