Both parents of a 2-year-old boy are among the victims of the July Fourth parade shooting
(CNN) — What was supposed to be a day of national celebration turned into a day of tragedy and fear when a gunman killed seven people and injured dozens of others at a July Fourth parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
Now, yet another community in America is grieving the loss of family and friends: Among them, the parents of a 2-year-old boy, a former preschool teacher, and a beloved grandfather.
Six of the victims were identified by the Lake County Coroner’s Office as Katherine Goldstein, 64, of Highland Park; Irina McCarthy, 35, of Highland Park; Kevin McCarthy, 37, of Highland Park; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, of Highland Park; Stephen Straus, 88, of Highland Park; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, of Morelos, Mexico.
A seventh victim died at a hospital outside of Lake County, Coroner Jennifer Banek said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
In total, about 45 people were injured or killed in the shooting, Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli, Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said in the news conference.
Authorities believe the shooting suspect, who was apprehended following a manhunt Monday, climbed onto a rooftop of a business and opened fire on the parade about 20 minutes after it started.
A total of 26 patients were received at Highland Park Hospital, said Dr. Brigham Temple, the medical director of the NorthShore University Health System.
The patients ranged in age from 8 years old to 85 years old, and four or five were children, Temple said. He said 19 of the 25 gunshot victims were treated and have been discharged. There were gunshot wounds to extremities as well as more central parts of bodies, he added.
Here’s what we know about the lives lost:
Irina and Kevin McCarthy
Irina and Kevin McCarthy, who were killed in the shooting, are the parents of a toddler who was found alive, according to a family member.
Irina Colon, who was related to Irina McCarthy, shared an undated photo with CNN of the couple at their wedding in Chicago.
Colon said she was not at the parade and found out about the couple’s death from Irina McCarthy’s father.
The couple’s 2-year-old son, Aiden, will now be cared for by family members, Colon said.
A verified GoFundMe campaign that Colon began said that in the aftermath of the violence, the young child was taken to safety by community members before his grandparents were located.
“At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” the campaign said. “Aiden will be cared for by his loving family and he will have a long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan. He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love, and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows.”
“On behalf of his family, and with their permission, I am establishing this fundraiser to support him and the caregivers who will be tasked with raising, caring for, and supporting Aiden as he and his support system embark on this unexpected journey,” it added.
The GoFundMe page had raised more than $820,000 by Tuesday evening.
Jacki Sundheim was also identified by her synagogue as one of the people killed.
The North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe said in a statement Sundheim was a lifelong congregant and a member of the staff, having been a preschool teacher and events coordinator.
“There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones,” the statement said. “We know you join us in the deepest prayer that Jacki’s soul will be bound up in the shelter of God’s wings and her family will somehow find comfort and consolation amidst this boundless grief.”
Father of eight and grandfather to many, Nicolas Toledo had been visiting his family in Highland Park from Mexico and was identified as a victim in Monday’s shooting, an official from the state of Morelos told CNN.
Mexican officials issued a press release identifying Toledo as Nicolas “N,” a customary practice in Mexico where authorities use “N” for any last name in official documents, under a law for human rights and protection of privacy of victims.
Toledo loved fishing, painting and going on walks with his family in the park, one of his granddaughters, Kimberly Rangel, told CNN affiliate WBBM.
Toledo’s family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to repatriate him to Mexico.
“What was suppose(d) to be a fun family day turned into a horrific nightmare for us all,” the organizer of the GoFundMe and another granddaughter, Xochil Toledo wrote. “As a family we are broken, and numb.”
She described her grandfather as a “loving man” who was “creative, adventurous and funny.”
Six of Toledo’s eight children live in the United States, according to the statement from Mexican authorities. One was injured in the shooting alongside two other members of the Toledo family.
Stephen Straus, the 88-year-old man identified by authorities as one of the victims, was full of life, his grandsons said.
“He was very active, he enjoyed life,” Maxwell Straus, 18, told CNN. “He attended music festivals, loved to get outside, and biked into his 80s.”
He said his grandfather had recently mentioned he was going to the parade and was “very excited.”
When news about the shooting surfaced, Maxwell’s father grew very worried after Stephen Straus did not pick up the phone. A few hours later, the hospital called to confirm his death.
“It was shocking, hard to imagine,” Maxwell Straus said.
Tobias Straus, 20, told CNN that hearing the news of his grandfather’s death was “the worst thing imaginable to happen.”
“He had a lot of life left in him, he was not ready to go by any means,” Tobias Straus said. “This just doesn’t happen in other places, and I have no doubt that if America had better gun control my grandfather would be alive.”
“The gun lobby and America’s cultural worship of guns is deadly. It kills grandfathers,” he added.
Straus’ grandsons told CNN they had a close relationship with their grandfather and would see him almost every Sunday — for the usual family dinner.
What we know about the wounded
Barbara Medina, 46, was injured in the shooting — not by gunfire, but by the stampede as parade-goers fled the area in an effort to escape the chaos on Monday.
Medina was marching in the parade holding a banner for Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) when she heard gunshots ring out, she told CNN. A sea of people rushed toward her, so she dropped the banner, grabbed her 7-year-old daughter Caroline and her scooter, and ran. Unfortunately, she was separated from her 12-year-old son and her father in the mad dash to get away from the area.
Medina and her daughter fled down an alley but noticed her daughter slowing down behind her. She reached back to grab her and help her along, but tripped on her scooter and fell hard on her left arm. She knew immediately it was broken, she said.
“I could see it went the wrong way, and I had to kind of maneuver it back,” she said. “It was very painful.”
After making it to a stranger’s home, Medina learned her son and father were safe and sheltering elsewhere. She borrowed a sling and an ice pack, and propped her arm up on some pillows to relieve the pain.
Hours later, Medina went to Skokie Hospital, a non-trauma facility, to get her arm looked at and doctors diagnosed her with a broken proximal radius just below the elbow. She now has a cast from the tips of her fingers to the top of her shoulder, and expects to be in a cast for about 6 to 8 weeks.
Though her arm is sore, she’s thankful she and her family weren’t seriously injured.
“I’m more worried for the kids. I’m just grateful that we’re all safe,” she said. “It’ll be a long healing process.”
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