Parents of boy (2) found alone after Chicago attack among seven victims named

Two-year-old Aiden McCarthy went viral in the aftermath of the attack before being reunited with grandparents

The parents of a toddler found wandering alone in the aftermath of the Highland Park mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade were both killed during the massacre, local media have reported.

A picture of two-year-old Aiden McCarthy went viral in the aftermath of the attack before he was reunited with his grandparents. But it has now been revealed that the child’s parents are both dead.

Kevin McCarthy, a 37-year-old, and Irina McCarthy, aged 35, were both named as victims of the shooter who attacked the parade in the upmarket Chicago suburb, injuring dozens as as well as killing seven people.

Local television station CBS Chicago reported that a GoFundMe page had been set up to raise money for the child, Aiden McCarthy, who will now be raised by his grandparents. The page has so far raised more than $1.6 million (€1.5 million).

CBS Chicago reported that the toddler was temporarily cared for by other people after being found alone following the deadly shooting. Dana and Greg Ring, a couple who helped take care of the child, described finding him in the arms of a stranger who appeared to be in shock.

“She was physically shaking, her whole body,” Dana Ring said in the interview with CBS. “Which told us that... she shouldn’t be having to hold and/or deal with a little one at the same time.”

“We took the little boy [and] I put him in my arms,” Ring said. He said he then went looking for the boy’s parents. The child was later reunited by law enforcement with his grandparents at a hospital.

As the investigation got underway following the deadly shooting, the first victim to be identified by their family was 76-year-old grandfather Nicolas Toledo. The New York Times reported that Mr Toledo, who used a wheelchair, had not wanted to attend the parade but needed to stay with his family due to his disabilities.

Mr Toledo was sitting in his wheelchair when he was hit. “We were all in shock,” Xochil Toledo, his granddaughter, told the Times. “We thought it was part of the parade… We realised our grandfather was hit. We saw blood and everything splattered on to us.”

His family said that Mr Toledo held dual citizenship with Mexico and had come to live permanently in the US so his family could look after him after he was injured in a car accident in Highland Park. “We brought him over here so he could have a better life. His sons wanted to take care of him and be more in his life, and then this tragedy happened,” his granddaughter said.

Another victim has been named by a local synagogue as Jacki Sundheim. The North Shore Congregation Israel confirmed to local media that Ms Sundheim was a lifelong congregant and staffer. In a statement, the synagogue said: “Our beloved Jacki Sundheim was one of the victims murdered at the Highland Park parade.”

It added: “Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all, from her early days teaching at the Gates of Learning Preschool to guiding innumerable among us through life’s moments of joy and sorrow as our Events and B’nei Mitzvah Coordinator – all of this with tireless dedication...

“There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones.”

A law enforcement official confirmed a third victim was 88-year-old Steve Straus. Mr Straus was a financial broker who worked in Chicago, commuting into the city every day, reported the New York Times.

“He was an honorable man who worked his whole life,” said Mr Straus’s niece to the Times. “He should not have had to die this way.”

Mr Straus, a Chicago financial adviser, was one of the first observers at the parade and attended it every year, his grandchildren said. 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.

The two brothers recalled Sunday night dinners with their grandparents as a favorite tradition. They said they had eaten with him the night before he was killed.

“America’s gun culture is killing grandparents,” said Maxwell Straus. “It’s very, just, terrible.”

The name of the other victim was Katherine Goldstein, a 64-year-old mother of two daughters in their early 20s, Cassie and Alana. Ms Goldstein’s husband described her as an easygoing travel companion who was always game to visit far-flung locales.

“She didn’t complain,” Craig Goldstein told the New York Times. “She was always along for the ride.”

A seventh victim – and so far the last – has not yet been identified. – Guardian/AP