Police and SWAT personnel, just before 4:00 p.m. Monday, July 4, 2022, began to assemble in front of the home of Denise Pesina, mother of Highland Park Independence Day mass shooter suspect Robert E. Crimo III. Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli released yesterday, Tuesday, July 5, 2022 that investigators believe that Robert E. Crimo III disguised himself as a woman to blend in with the crowd as he left the mass shooting scene without his rifle just after 10:15 a.m. Monday, July 4, 2022, and then walked to his mother’s home a short distance away from the crime scene. Covelli did not release the address of the mother’s home, but the SWAT operation at Denise Pesina’s home was randomly discovered as part of observation of a very large area of police activity in Highland Park. Covelli also did not release the identity of the suspect’s mother, but a published obituary of a grandfather, and multiple media sources have identified Denise Penisa as the mother of Robert E. Crimo III.
In a press conference Tuesday, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Covelli (Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman) said Robert E. Crimo III borrowed his mother’s car and fled the area. Covelli also said that there was no indication that Robert E. Crimo III told his mother that he had committed the crime in downtown Highland Park. Earlier on Monday at about 1:40 p.m. and before he was captured, police indicated that Crimo, III, was believed to be driving a 2010 silver Honda Fit with license plate DM 80653.
Before Robert E. Crimo III was captured, police with armored Bearcat trucks and tactical gear surrounded Denise Pesina’s home carrying rifles and body shields. From the appearance of tactical positions of the SWAT personnel, it was apparent that police eventually did not suspect that Crimo III was inside the home. However, they wanted to enter the home for some reason, and apparently Denise Pesina wasn’t cooperating with police.
While police assembled and waited, Denise Pesina accosted police and walked back and forth down her street in front of her home. She twirled her body, while pointing at equipment and personnel, and a helicopter overhead. She appeared to be ridiculing the police response, but she was too far from the police perimeter tape to hear and understand her exact words.
At one point she gestured in a sort of mime action that she was pulling down her revealing spaghetti strap top, and then her pants. Then she walked back toward her home, and when she walked past two personnel assigned to SWAT, she pulled down her top to expose her right breast. Both tactical personnel averted, turning their eyes and bodies away from the view of her body as she walked past them.
Apparently, police were waiting for a search warrant to arrive to enter her home. When a police officer arrived with a white paper document, SWAT personnel raised their body shields and moved to enter the home. An ambulance had staged nearby as a precaution in case any injuries occurred during the tactical operation. There were no apparent injuries at the scene.
The exact address and location of the home is purposefully not identified here to avoid or reduce the risk of malicious targeting of the home. A neighbor said that he recognized Denise Pesina as being from the neighborhood. He also said that there was an odd occurrence before the parade. There were about 30 to 40 people gathered at about 7:30 a.m. Monday, July 4, 2022 near the intersection near Denise Pesina’s home. The neighbor said there was no indication what the group was doing there. The neighbor said he thought the gathering seemed odd for some reason — even before he was aware that the Highland Park mass shooting occurred.
CBS Chicago’s Dave Savini said Tuesday that CBS Investigators found that Denise Pesina has a mailbox at a UPS Store near her home, and that her mail box and the entire UPS Store is closed under police seal. The extent of the investigation involving Denise Pesina is unknown, and may just be routine as part of the overall mass shooting investigation.
The mother of the suspect in Monday’s deadly mass shooting in Highland Park has been at the center of some police contact for hours on Tuesday, as well as with a SWAT team in the hours after the shooting (Dave Savini/CBS Chicago Investigators). YouTube Tips ⓘ
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