Services begin for victims of Highland Park parade shooting

CHICAGO-

Mourners on Friday remembered a woman who worked tirelessly at her synagogue and a kind man who loved art at the first formal services held for the seven people killed by the gunman who opened fire at a Fourth of July parade.

Members of the North Shore Congregation Israel synagogue near the Chicago suburb of Highland Park described Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, as a dedicated member of her community who coordinated events and taught preschool classes, smiling all the while and controlling constantly to other members of staff.

“We are horrified,” Rabbi Wendi Geffen said. “We are enraged, disgusted, heartbroken, heartbroken at the terror that has befallen us and has stolen Jacki from us.”

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

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

“I want you to laugh,” he said, holding back tears. “I want each and every day to put a little more joy and kindness into this world. Don’t let this sadness, this fear, this anger turn 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 laughter.”

Mourners also packed the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston to support the family of Stephen Straus, 88, who was lauded as a fun-loving father and grandfather who loved reading and art and still traveled by train five days a week to the downtown Chicago office. where he worked as a financial advisor.

His son Jonathan described Straus as “truly a sweet and generous person”, while his other son, Peter, thanked his father for instilling in him a love of “wackos”, including Mel Brooks.

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

“Thinking about how kind and generous and loving she was makes the cruelty and horror of her death that much harder to bear,” he said. “When I see pictures of him… it really overwhelms me what we’ve lost, who I’ve lost, my best friend.”

Friends and relatives of Nicolás 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 have not been made public. Authorities identified them as Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37, who were attending the parade with their 2-year-old son, and Katherine Goldstein, 64, a mother of two.

The accused gunman, Robert E. Crimo III, has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors hope to file more charges representing the more than 30 people who were injured in the assault.

Investigators have said the suspect, who lived in neighboring 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 into the fleeing crowd, then drove to the Madison, Wisconsin area, where he witnessed a second attack. He returned to the Highland Park area and police saw his car.

Questions remain about whether Crimo should have been able to purchase firearms legally in Illinois. Illinois State Police officers have defended approving his gun license in December 2019, months after police received reports that he had made violent and suicidal threats.

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