Two of the victims of the July 4 parade massacre in a Chicago suburb left behind a 2-year-old son. Another was staying with his family in Illinois after he was injured in a car accident about two months earlier.
For some, it was a tradition. They were avid travelers, members of their synagogue, and professionals. But amid a hail of gunfire, they became the latest victims in a series of horrific mass shootings.
The victims were Kevin McCarthy, 37; Irina McCarthy, 35; Katherine Goldstein, 64; Stephen Strauss, 88; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Nicholas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69.
KEVIN AND IRINA MCCARTHY
It was supposed to be a fun day for the couple, who brought their 2-year-old son, Aiden, with them to watch marching bands and patriotic floats.
Instead, they were killed in the gunshots, leaving their son an orphan. A stranger picked up the blood-covered toddler and handed him over to Greg Ring as he took refuge with his wife and three children behind a popular pancake house.
“We looked into each other’s eyes and didn’t say anything… I put out my arms and she gave it to me,” Ring said Wednesday, describing the exchange with the unidentified woman, who then lay down across from her. her car in shock.
The boy pointed in the direction of the parade route, saying “Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy.”
The family was later able to identify the boy and reunite him with his grandparents. Friends of the McCarthys said that Irina’s parents would care for the child in the future.
Irina Colón wrote in a GoFundMe account she created for the family and Aiden that the boy “would have a long road ahead of him to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan.”
He arrived at the parade early and was attending alone, according to his grandchildren, who dined with him the night before.
The Independence Day parade was an annual tradition for Straus, one of the many ways the 88-year-old financial advisor stayed active and involved in his community. According to his family, Straus took the train to work every day, walked and biked regularly, and loved visiting art museums and festivals.
“Despite his age, he was taken too soon,” grandson Maxwell Straus said.
Maxwell and his brother Tobias fondly remembered going out to dinner on Sunday nights with their grandfather, a weekly routine that persisted despite the COVID-19 pandemic, when the grandchildren would visit him from his window.
Losing their grandfather was a surreal experience, the brothers said. “You never imagine something like this could happen to you or your loved ones,” Maxwell Straus said.
Straus is survived by a brother, a wife, their son and four grandchildren, all with whom his family said he was close.
He loved his synagogue, where he once taught preschoolers and coordinated bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies.
She had worked there for decades and was a lifelong devoted member known for her kindness and warmth, synagogue officials said in a statement.
“There are not enough words to express the depth of our sorrow at Jacki’s death and our sympathy for her family and loved ones,” said the statement, signed by three top synagogue leaders.
Sundheim, 63, was survived by her husband, Bruce, and daughter Leah, according to an email the synagogue sent to congregants. She was one of the first victims identified after the shooting.
Her 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 up for a ride.”
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.
He 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.
His death left behind a large and loving family who mourned his loss. One of her granddaughters, Xochil Toledo, organized an online fundraiser for her funeral expenses that exceeded $130,000.
Nicolás was a “loving, creative, adventurous and fun man,” he wrote, describing him as the father of eight children and the grandfather of many. “I love you grandpa”.
For the Uvaldo family, like others in the Highland Park area, the Independence Day parade was an annual tradition, according to a GoFundMe page organized by their granddaughter.
As gunfire erupted from a rooftop along the parade route, Eduardo Uvaldo was shot in the arm and the back of the head. His wife, Maria, was shot in the head with bullet fragments and his grandson was shot in the arm, according to the fundraising page.
Eduardo Uvaldo was taken to the hospital where, after receiving treatment and evaluation from doctors, the family was told there was nothing else to do, Guzmán wrote. A GoFundMe update shows that he was taken off life support on Tuesday.
Uvaldo died shortly before 8 am Wednesday at Evanston Hospital.
Savage reported from Chicago and Venhuizen reported from Madison, Wisconsin. AP writers Martha Irvine in Chicago and Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Missouri, also contributed to this report.