Highland Park shooting: Grandfather, ‘tireless’ synagogue teacher among victims

Click to play video: 'Accused Illinois gunman faces 7 first-degree murder charges'
Accused Illinois gunman faces 7 first-degree murder charges
WATCH: Robert Crimo III, the 22-year-old charged in the deadly shooting rampage at the fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, plotted his attack for months, according to investigators. Jackson Proskow looks at the evidence, and the new details emerging about some of the victims – Jul 5, 2022

What was supposed to be a day of celebration turned into one of shock, chaos and mourning for the small American town of Highland Park in Illinois.

At least seven people were killed and dozens more injured Monday when a gunman opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago-area suburb.

A person of interest has been arrested in connection to the violence — the latest in a recent series of mass shootings in the United States that includes one at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 and another at a supermarket in a predominately Black neighbourhood in Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 10.

Click to play video: 'Police name person of interest in 4th of July parade shooting in Illinois'
Police name person of interest in 4th of July parade shooting in Illinois

The motive for the Independence Day shooting remains unclear.

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The six victims have been identified as Katherine Goldstein, 64; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35.

The seventh victim, who police confirmed died in hospital on Wednesday morning, has been identified as 60-year-old Eduardo Uvaldo.

Here is what we know so far.

Nicolas Toledo

Nicolas Toledo was described as “a loving man, creative, adventurous and funny” by his family. Photo credit: Xochil Toledo/GoFund

Nicolas Toledo, a man in his 70s from Mexico who was visiting family in Illinois, was the first victim identified as of late Monday, by his family.

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He was shot and died at the scene, his granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“My grandfather Nicolas Toledo, father of eight and grandfather to many left us this morning July 4th. What was supposed to be a fun family day turned into a horrific nightmare for us all,” Xochil Toledo said on a GoFundMe page created for him.

“Not only was Nicolas a loving man, creative, adventurous and funny. As a family we are broken, and numb,” she wrote.

Toledo’s family set up GoFundMe page to raise money to send his body back to his native Mexico. The page had raised more than $43,000 as of Tuesday morning.

Toledo had been visiting his family for about the past month. He spent his final days swimming and fishing and being among relatives, his family told the media.

Jacki Sundheim

Highland Park shooting victims
Jacki Sundheim was a “lifelong congregant” and staff member at nearby North Shore Congregation Israel. Photo credit: North Shore Congregation Israel

Another person killed in the shooting was Jacki Sundheim, a teacher at a nearby synagogue.

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The North Shore Congregation Israel confirmed her death on its website.

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Sundheim had spent decades on the staff at North Shore Congregation Israel, early on teaching at the congregation’s preschool and later serving as Events and B’nei Mitzvah Coordinator, “all of this with tireless dedication,” the congregation said in its statement announcing her death.

She was a lifelong congregant and “beloved” staff member for decades, the synagogue in Glencoe, Ill., said in a statement.

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

“Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all, from her teaching at the Gates of Learning Preschool to guiding innumerable among us through life’s moments of joy and sorrow, all of this with tireless dedication,” it added.

She is survived by her husband and daughter.

Irina and Kevin McCarthy

Irina and Kevin McCarthy was killed on Monday’s shooting, leaving their 2-year-old son behind. via GoFundMe

Irina McCarthy and Kevin McCarthy died while their two-year-old son Aiden McCarthy survives.

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“At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” reads a GoFundMe page, set up by Irina Colon who saved Aiden when the shooting happened.

Colon added that the fundraiser is established with the permission of Aiden’s family.

Moving forward, Aiden will be taken care of by 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,” Colon writes.

“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.”

Stephen Straus

Steve Straus, 88, was remembered by family and friends and as an “amazingly sweet, kind and funny man.” Photo via CBS Chicago

The Independence Day parade was an annual tradition for Steven Straus, who was an 88-year-old financial advisor.

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According to his family, Straus rode the train to work every day “by choice,” walked and biked regularly and loved to visit art museums and festivals.

In a Facebook post, his son Jon Straus said Steven was an “amazingly sweet, kind and funny man,” adding that although Steven was not perfect, he was “still pretty damn great.”

“He was a solid citizen who just wanted to enjoy a nice little Fourth of July parade this morning,” Jon wrote. “And that was that.”

Jon conclude his post by echoing his wife’s criticism of U.S. gun laws.

“My wife summed it up perfectly when she said that our insane, paranoid gun culture basically makes it impossible for us to enjoy the pursuit of life liberty and happiness, which is what we’re supposed to be doing, right?” Jon wrote.

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“You can’t do that when there’s so many ticking time bombs armed with guns out there.”

Steven is survived by a brother, a wife, his son and four grandchildren, all of whom his family said he was close with.

Katherine Goldstein

Katherine Goldstein (right) told her husband Craig (left) she wanted to be cremated and to have her remains scattered in a bird sanctuary in Chicago. Photo via Facebook

Katherine Goldstein’s husband, Craig Goldstein, described her as an easygoing travel companion who was always game to visit far-flung locales.

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

Katherine was a mother of two daughters in their early 20s, Cassie and Alana. She attended the parade with her older daughter so that Cassie could reunite with friends from high school, said Craig, who is a hospital physician.

He said Katherine wanted to be cremated and to have her remains scattered in the Montrose Beach area of Chicago, where there is a bird sanctuary.

In an interview with NBC news, Katherine’s daughter Cassie Goldstein said she wanted to share a memory of her mother before she died with the public.

“She was waving to the floats, every float that went by she was waving to them,” said Cassie. “She was just a good mom, and I got 22 years with her, I got 22 years with the best mom in the world.

Eduardo Uvaldo

Eduardo Uvaldo is the seventh victim who died in the hospital on Wednesday morning. via GoFundMe

The Independence Day parade was an annual tradition for Eduardo Uvaldo and his family — it is a parade the family have been attending every year “filled with happiness and laughter,” according to a GoFundMe page organized by his granddaughter Nivia Guzman.

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“This year was different, this year was filled with fear, sadness, and tragedy,” Guzman wrote.

Eduardo got shot in the arm, then in the back of the head.

But he wasn’t the only victim. Eduardo’s wife Maria Uvaldo and his grandson were also victims of the shooting.

Maria was struck in the head by bullet fragments and his grandson was shot in the arm, according to Guzman.

Eduardo was brought to the hospital after the shooting, however, after receiving treatment, the family was told there was nothing that could be done.

Uvaldo died just before 8 a.m. on Wednesday in the hospital.

Who are the injured?

Twenty-six patients were sent to Highland Park hospital with gunshot injuries, according to Dr. Bringham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness for NorthShore University Health Center.

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Their ages range from eight to 85 years old, he said, and include four or five children.

Some are in critical condition, including one child, and 19 have been treated and discharged.

Police confirmed Tuesday no children have died as a result of the shooting.

Roberto Velasco, Mexico’s director for North American affairs, said on Twitter that two Mexicans were among the wounded.

— with files from Reuters and the Associated Press

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