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Services begin for Highland Park, Illinois, parade of shooting victims

Services Begin For Highland Park, Illinois, Parade Of Shooting Victims

By KATHLEEN FOODY

CHICAGO ( Associated Press) – The mourners on Friday remembered a woman who worked tirelessly in her synagogue and a kind man who loved art in the first formal services to be held for the seven people killed by the gunman who opened fire in a 4-hour parade. July.

Members of the North Shore Congregation Israel synagogue near Chicago’s Highland Park suburb described Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, as a dedicated member of her community who coordinated events and taught preschool classes, smiling the entire time. and constantly checking in with other team members.

“We are horrified,” said Rabbi Wendi Geffen. “We are enraged, disgusted, hurt, inconsolable by the terror that has befallen us and robbed us of Jacki.”

But Geffen and other speakers urged the people who packed the synagogue to focus on Sundheim’s life — her commitment to her husband, Bruce, and daughter, Leah, the pleasure she took in knitting, and her attention to detail when planning bats or bar mitzahs, weddings or funerals.

The daughter had another request: to use the pain, fear and anger caused by her mother’s death to make the world better, in small thoughts and actions.

“I want you to laugh,” she said, holding back tears. “I want every day to put a little more joy and kindness into this world. Don’t let this sadness, this fear, this anger make you bitter towards our world. The world is darker without my mom in it, and it’s up to us now to fill it with a little extra laugh.”

Mourners also flocked to the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston to support the family of 88-year-old Stephen Straus, who has been lauded as a funny father and grandfather who loved reading and art and still rode the train five days a week to his downtown office. of Chicago where he worked as a financial advisor.

Son Jonathan described Straus as “truly at his core, just a sweet and generous person”, while his other son Peter thanked his father for instilling a love for the “freak”, including Mel Brooks.

Jonathan Straus said that learning of his father’s death by a hospital doctor “was the worst moment of my life”.

“Thinking about what a good, generous and loving person he was makes the cruelty and horror of his death that much harder to bear,” he said. “When I see pictures of him… it really blows me away, what we lost, who I lost, my best friend ever.”

Friends and family of Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, plan to remember him on Friday afternoon. Services for Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, are scheduled for Saturday.

Funeral details for the remaining victims were not released. Authorities identified them as Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37, who were participating in the parade with their 2-year-old son, and Katherine Goldstein, 64, a mother of two.

The accused shooter, Robert E. Crimo III, was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors hope to bring more charges representing the more than 30 people injured in the attack.

Investigators said the suspect, who lived in nearby Highwood, legally purchased five guns and planned the attack for weeks before climbing onto the roof of a business along the parade route and opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle.

Investigators reported that Crimo fled the parade by blending in with the fleeing crowd, then drove to the Madison, Wisconsin area, where he contemplated a second attack. He returned to the Highland Park area, and his car was spotted by the police.

Doubts remain over whether Crimo should be able to legally purchase firearms in Illinois. Illinois State Police officials defended approval of his gun license in December 2019, months after police received reports that he had made suicidal and violent threats.

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