Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., shared a doctored image that she falsely claimed showed the suspect in the Highland Park, Illinois, mass shooting was in a “in jail or rehab or a psychiatric center” before he opened fire on the Chicago suburb’s July 4 parade.
Police took into custody Robert Crimo III of Highwood, Illinois, after they said he positioned himself on a nearby roof and fired the shots that killed seven people and injured dozens more.
Much remains unknown about Crimo’s life leading up to the shooting, including details regarding his mental health or arrest history.
Here’s some of what we have learned from police as of July 5: Crimo attempted suicide in 2019. That same year, law enforcement officials also seized dozens of knives and a sword from him after a family member reported that he threatened to “kill everyone,” but Crimo was not arrested over the incident. The 21-year-old had posted violent imagery and discourse online. He was living at the time of the attack in an apartment behind a house owned by his father, according to reports, and he purchased the firearm police said he used to carry out the attack legally.
But before many of those details had been revealed, Greene had already posted the altered image of Crimo twice, using it to make a political point about guns and mental health.
In the image, which Greene first tweeted July 4 alongside other photos of Crimo, Crimo looks as if he’s seated in a compact, windowless cell and holding a Bible. The second time Greene shared the image was on July 5, when she posted a Twitter thread arguing that the attack and other recent mass shootings should not be blamed on lax gun laws.
“The public should not allow this to continue,” Greene wrote. “People are not stupid. Is he in jail or rehab or a psychiatric center in this photo? That’s not his bedroom. 22 yrs old and 5’11 and 120 lbs is not normal or healthy. What drugs or psychiatric drugs or both does he use?”
Greene framed the image as evidence of Crimo’s “very dark” history.
“Until we are willing to rip open the ugly truth about the dark and destructive path these young men are on that lead them to mass shootings, then they will continue,” she said. “No matter how many gun control laws are passed. Even with no guns at all, evil will find a way until it’s fixed.”
The image is noticeably edited. There’s no evidence that it actually shows Crimo “in jail or rehab or a psychiatric center” prior to his July 4 parade attack, as Greene claimed.
“This is an obvious fake,” said Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on image analysis and digital forensics. “There are clear signs of manipulation around his head and hair, the resolution on his face is inconsistent with the background, and the lighting and shading on his face is inconsistent with the rest of the scene.”
PolitiFact could not pinpoint where the image originated, but we found the same image posted on several since-suspended Twitter accounts that appear to have been affiliated with Crimo or the stage name he adopted as an amateur rapper, “Awake the Rapper.” A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the company suspended accounts that “may belong to the alleged perpetrator,” per its rules around perpetrators of violent attacks.
Shortly after sharing the image for the second time to her nearly 1 million Twitter followers, Greene retweeted it again and said, “This is supposedly photoshopped.”
Greene’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
We rate Greene’s claim that the image shows Crimo “in jail or rehab or a psychiatric center” before the shooting False.
This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.