HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — An online fundraiser has been launched on behalf of a 2-year-old Illinois boy orphaned during Monday’s mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July Parade, which left seven dead and at least 30 people wounded.
In a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek identified two of the seven victims fatally shot during the suburban Chicago rampage as 35-year-old Irina McCarthy and 37-year-old Kevin McCarthy of Highland Park.
According to The Hill, members of the area’s North Shore community have since launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds to support the McCarthys’ 2-year-old son, Aiden McCarthy. Photos of Aiden circulated widely on social media Monday in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting, as community members sought to reunite him with family members from whom they believed he had been separated.
The suspected gunman, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, was charged late Tuesday with seven counts of first-degree murder, and Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said “dozens” more charges are expected as the investigation unfolds.
The organizer of Aiden’s GoFundMe page, Irina Colon, explained in the plea that the North Shore community “rallied to help a boy who we knew nothing about.”
“We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family,” she wrote, noting that the toddler has been “left in the unthinkable position, to grow up without his parents.”
By 7:45 p.m. EDT Tuesday, about three hours after it was launched, the page had raised nearly $884,000.
Friends of the McCarthys told The Associated Press that Irina McCarthy’s parents would care for the boy going forward.
Lauren Silva, a Highland Park resident, told The New York Times that in the aftermath of the shooting she and her boyfriend spotted a young boy, later identified as Aiden, pinned under a man later determined to be Kevin McCarthy. She said they cleaned him up and tried to comfort him before he was eventually reunited with his grandparents.
“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,” Colon wrote in the fundraising plea, which she launched with the family’s permission.
In addition to the McCarthys, the Lake County Coroner’s Office identified four of the five other victims as Katherine Goldstein, 64, of Highland Park; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, of Highland Park; Stephen Straus, 88, of Highland Park and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, of Morelos, Mexico.
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