2-year-old boy left orphaned after both parents were killed in 4th of July parade shooting

Aiden McCarthy’s photo was shared on Chicago-area social media groups in the hours after the 4th of July parade shooting in Highland Park, accompanied by pleas to help identify the 2-year-old boy who had been found in the bloody and lonely place and to meet. him with his family.

On Tuesday, friends and authorities confirmed that the boy’s parents, Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people who died in the tragedy.

“At two years old, Aiden finds himself in an unthinkable position; growing up without his parents,” Irina Colón wrote in a GoFundMe account she created for the family and Aiden, who was reunited with his grandparents Monday night.

Friends of the McCarthys said that Irina’s parents would care for the child in the future.

Four of the other four who were killed were identified Tuesday as Katherine Goldstein, 64; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Strauss, 88; and Nicolás Toledo-Zaragoza, 78. All the victims were from Highland Park except Toledo-Zaragoza, who was visiting relatives in the city of Morelos, Mexico.

Authorities have not yet identified the seventh victim.

Portraits of some of those who died began to emerge Tuesday as investigators continued to search for evidence in the shooting that killed at least seven and wounded 30.

Irina McCarthy’s childhood friend Angela Vella described McCarthy as funny, affable and “somewhat tomboyish” who still liked to dress up.

“She definitely had her own style, which I’ve always admired,” Vella said in a brief interview.

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

Brothers Maxwell and Tobias Straus described their grandfather as a kind and active man who loved walking, biking, and attending community events.

“The way he was living life, you would think he was still middle-aged,” Maxwell Straus said in an interview.

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

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

Sundheim, meanwhile, was gifted a longtime congregational member and “beloved” staff member at North Shore Congregation Israel, where she had worked for decades, the Reform synagogue said on its website. Sundheim taught in the synagogue’s preschool and coordinated events that included bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies.

“Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all,” synagogue leaders wrote in a message on their website. “There are not enough words to express the depth of our sorrow at Jacki’s death and our condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Toledo-Zaragoza was killed in what his 23-year-old granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, said was supposed to be a “fun family day out” that “turned into a horrible nightmare for all of us.”

On a GoFundMe page to raise money for Toledo’s funeral expenses, Xochil Toledo said her grandfather was a “caring, creative, adventurous and fun man.”

“As a family we are broken, numb,” he said.

Toledo-Zaragoza had come to Illinois to visit family about two months ago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. His family wanted him to stay permanently due to injuries he had sustained after being hit by a car a couple of years ago during a previous visit to Highland Park. The newspaper reported that he was hit by three bullets on Monday and died at the scene.

He wasn’t sure he wanted to attend the parade due to the large crowds and his limited mobility, which required him to use a walker, but Xochil Toledo said the family didn’t want to leave him alone.

Katherine Goldstein’s husband described her as a quiet traveling companion who was always willing to visit remote places.

“She didn’t complain,” Craig Goldstein told The New York Times. “She was always present on the trip.”

Goldstein was the mother of two daughters in their 20s, Cassie and Alana. She attended the parade with her oldest daughter so Cassie could meet friends from high school, Craig Goldstein, a doctor at the hospital, told the newspaper.

Dr. Goldstein said that his wife had recently lost her mother and had thought about what kind of arrangements she might want when she dies.

He recalled that Katherine, an avid bird watcher, said she wanted to be cremated and scatter her remains in the Montrose Beach area of ​​Chicago, where there is a bird sanctuary.


Schulte reported from Omaha, Nebraska. Savage reported from Chicago. Venhuizen reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press reporter Christopher Weber contributed from Los Angeles.

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