Hours after shooting the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, a photo of Aidan McCarthy was shared in Chicago-area social media groups, with requests for help identifying a 2-year-old child who died in blood. Was found soaked and alone.
On Tuesday, friends and officials confirmed that the boy’s parents, 37-year-old Kevin McCarthy, and 35-year-old Irina McCarthy, were among seven people killed in the tragedy.
“At 2 years old, Aiden is left in an unimaginable condition; to grow up without his parents,” wrote Irina Colon on a GoFundMe account created for the family and Aiden, who shared her birthday on Monday evening. Was reunited with grandparents.
McCarthy’s friends said that Irina’s parents would take care of the boy going forward.
Four of the others killed were identified Tuesday as 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein; Jacqueline Sundeem, 63; Stephen Strauss, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78. Every victim was from Highland Park except Toledo-Zaragoza, which was visiting family in the city from Morelos, Mexico.
Authorities are yet to identify the seventh victim.
Victims also include grandfather who is always involved in the parade.
Pictures of some of those killed began to emerge on Tuesday as investigators continued to search for evidence in the shooting that killed at least seven people and injured 30.
Irina McCarthy’s childhood friend, Angela Vella, described McCarthy as fun-loving, friendly and “somewhat a tomboy” who still liked to dress well.
“She definitely had her own style, which I always admired,” Vela said in a brief interview.
Strauss, a Chicago financial advisor, was one of the first observers at the parade and attended it every year, his grandson said.
Brothers Maxwell and Tobias Strauss described their grandfather as a kind and active person who loved walking, biking, and participating in community events.
“The way he lived life, you’d think he was still middle-aged,” Maxwell Strauss said in an interview.
Both brothers remembered having dinner with their grandparents on Sunday night as a favorite tradition. He said that they had dinner with him the night before he was killed.
“America’s gun culture is killing the grandparents,” said Maxwell Strauss. “It’s so awful.”
The Reform Synagogue said on its website that Sundaram was hailed as a lifelong collective and beloved staff member at the North Shore Congregation of Israel, where he worked for decades. Sundheim taught at the synagogue’s preschool and coordinated events including bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies.
“Jackie’s work, kindness and warmth impressed us all,” the synagogue leaders wrote in a message on their website. “There are no words enough to express the depth of our grief and sympathy for his family and loved ones for the death of Jackie.”
Toledo-Zaragoza was supposed to be a “fun family day out” in what her 23-year-old granddaughter, Xochile Toledo, said, “turned into a terrifying nightmare for all of us.”
On a GoFundMe page to raise money for Toledo’s funeral expenses, Xochiel Toledo said that his grandfather was a “loving, creative, courageous and funny person.”
“As a family we are broken, shocked,” she said.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Toledo-Zaragoza came to Illinois to visit his family about two months ago. His family wanted him to live permanently because of the injuries he sustained after being hit by a car during a trip to Highland Park a few years ago. The newspaper reported that he was hit by three bullets on Monday and died on the spot.
He wasn’t sure he wanted to attend the parade because of the large crowd and his limited mobility, which required him to use a walker, but Xochiel Toledo said the family didn’t want to leave him alone.