The parents of a two-year old child found wandering alone after a deadly attack on a July 4 parade in a Chicago suburb, a Mexican grandfather and a synagogue teacher were among the victims of one of the latest mass shootings in the United States.
At least seven people were killed when the shooter unleashed a hail of bullets on an Independence Day parade from a rooftop on Monday. The shooting sent hundreds of marchers, parents and children fleeing in fear and set off an hours-long manhunt in and around Highland Park, an affluent community on the shores of Lake Michigan.
More than three dozen people also suffered gunshot wounds and other injuries, police and hospital officials said.
Here is what we know so far about those who were killed:
Irina and Kevin McCarthy
Friends and authorities confirmed that Kevin McCarthy, aged 37 and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among those killed in the shooting.
Irina McCarthy’s childhood friend, Angela Vella, described McCarthy as fun, personable and “somewhat of a tomboy” who still liked to dress up nicely.
“She definitely had her own style, which I always admired,” Vella said in an interview.
The couple’s two-year-old son, Aiden, was separated from his parents in the ensuing chaos and was later returned to family members by police, according to a fundraising page.
His photo was shared across social media groups in Chicago in the hours after the shooting, accompanied by pleas to help identify him. He was later found at the scene bloodied and alone.
“At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” Irina Colon wrote on a GoFundMe page she created for the family.
“He will have a long road ahead to heal,” Colon said, adding that his grandparents would care for the boy.
The fund has raised over $2m so far.
Dana and Gregory Ring, told broadcaster ABC News that another survivor of the shooting had handed them the little boy in the ensuing chaos and that his parents were nowhere to be found.
“Every time I tried to ask him what his name was, the response he gave to me was, ‘Mama, Dada come get me soon. Mommy’s car come to get me soon,’” Dana Ring said in an interview on Wednesday.
The couple then took Aiden to a nearby fire station.
“I’ll never forget. I pulled up and I said, ‘This is not our kid. It’s not his blood, he’s OK. What should we do?’” And the cop said, ‘We can’t be babysitters now. Can you take care of him?’ We said, ‘Of course,’” Gregory Ring said during the interview.
Several hours later, a detective called them to tell them that Aidan’s grandparents had been located.
Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, was visiting from Morelos, Mexico when he was shot at the parade alongside relatives. Some of his relatives were wounded but are expected to survive, according to local media reports.
Toledo-Zaragoza’s 23-year-old granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, said the day was supposed to be a “fun family day” that “turned into a horrific nightmare for us all”.
On a GoFundMe page to raise money for Toledo’s funeral expenses, Xochil said her grandfather was a “loving man, creative, adventurous and funny”.
“As a family we are broken, numb,” she said.
Toledo-Zaragoza had come to Illinois to visit his family about two months ago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. His family wanted him to stay permanently because of injuries he had suffered after being hit by a car a couple years ago during an earlier visit to Highland Park. The newspaper reported that he was hit by three bullets and died at the scene.
He was not sure he wanted to attend the parade because of the large crowds and his limited mobility, which required him to use a walker, but Xochil Toledo said the family did not want to leave him alone.
His GoFundMe page has so far raised more than $120,000.
Jacquelyn ‘Jacki’ Sundheim
Jacki Sundheim, 63, a teacher at a Highland Park synagogue, was killed, leaving behind a husband and daughter.
Sundheim was regaled as a lifelong congregant and “beloved” staff member at North Shore Congregation Israel, where she had worked for decades, the Reform synagogue said on its website.
“Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all,” synagogue leaders wrote in a message on their website. “There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones.”
Katherine Goldstein, 64, was also among the victims. Goldstein’s husband Craig, described her as an easy-going travel companion who was always game to visit far-flung locales.
“She didn’t complain,” he told The New York Times newspaper. “She was always along for the ride.”
Goldstein was a mother of two daughters in their early 20s, Cassie and Alana. She attended the parade with her older daughter so that Cassie could reunite with friends from high school, her husband, a physician told the publication.
Katherine Goldstein, 64, Highland Park shooting victim. “The amazing thing about Katie is that she never thought about her own death,” Dr. Goldstein said. “For me it’s almost a preoccupation. She never thought about it.” https://t.co/68GGysgN6U pic.twitter.com/b3OryJQhBO
— The WAPB (@thewapb) July 6, 2022
Goldstein said his wife had recently lost her mother and had given thought to what kind of arrangements she might want when she dies.
He recalled that Katherine, an avid bird watcher, said she wanted to be cremated and to have her remains scattered in the Montrose Beach area of Chicago, where there is a bird sanctuary.
Stephen Straus, 88, a Chicago financial adviser, was one of the first observers at the parade and attended it every year, his grandchildren said.
Brothers Maxwell and Tobias Straus described their grandfather as a kind and active man who loved walking, biking and attending community events.
“The way he lived life, you’d think he was still middle-aged,” Maxwell Straus said in an interview with the Associated Press news agency.
The two brothers recalled Sunday night dinners with their grandparents as a favourite tradition. They said they ate with him the night before he was killed.
“America’s gun culture is killing grandparents,” said Maxwell Straus. “It’s very just terrible.”
The seventh victim has not yet been identified.