Parents of a 2-year-old boy, a 'loving' grandfather and more: Names of Highland Park shooting victims

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In the aftermath of a mass shooting that left seven dead Monday in a Chicago suburb, a toddler wandered alone before strangers picked him up and searched for his parents. Tuesday, it emerged both his parents were killed in the gunfire, leaving the 2-year-old an orphan.

Anguish took over the city of Highland Park in a wave after Fourth of July celebrations were shattered when a gunman opened fire, injuring at least two dozen people. Among those killed were a dedicated synagogue worker, an avid bird watcher and a grandfather watching holiday festivities from his wheelchair.

On Wednesday, the name of a seventh victim – Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, of Waukegan, Illinois – was confirmed by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. Uvaldo was pronounced dead at 7:47 a.m. Wednesday at Evanston Hospital.

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Tuesday night, hundreds gathered at a vigil downtown as neighbors held hands, hugged and cried. Some placed flowers, prayed and lit candles. Many wore Highland Park High School sweatshirts.

“It feels good to be with other people going through the same thing,” Lucy Melinger, 19, who lives a block from the scene of the shooting, said as she carried a bouquet of pink carnations.

People gather for a candlelight vigil July 5 near where seven people were killed by a gunman at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill.
People gather for a candlelight vigil July 5 near where seven people were killed by a gunman at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill.

Here's what we know about the victims.

Irina, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37

Childhood friend Angela Vella described Irina McCarthy as fun, personable and “somewhat of a tomboy” who liked to dress up. “She definitely had her own style, which I always admired,” Vella told The Associated Press.

Born in Moscow, Irina moved to Chicago with her family when she was 2 years old before moving to Highland Park, her father, Michael Levberg, told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday. She married Kevin McCarthy about five years ago after they met while working together, Levberg said.

They were the parents of Aiden, 2, who was found bloody and alone by bystanders after the shooting. His photo was shared across social media and news outlets with a plea to identify him. He was reunited with his grandparents Monday evening.

Friends of the McCarthys said Irina’s parents would raise him. Community members mobilized to support the boy, raising almost $2 million by Wednesday morning on GoFundMe.

"At 2 years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents," a verified GoFundMe page for Aiden said.

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Nicolas Toledo, 78

Nicolas Toledo was among the people killed at a shooting during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill., his granddaughter Alba Toledo, 23, confirmed to USA TODAY.
Nicolas Toledo was among the people killed at a shooting during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill., his granddaughter Alba Toledo, 23, confirmed to USA TODAY.

Toledo's family is "shattered," his granddaughter Alba Toledo, 23, told USA TODAY in a Spanish-language message confirming Nicolas was among the victims.

"It's an enormous pain," she said.

"Believe me, my grandfather was a great person, with an enormous heart. He was the best grandfather, loving, attentive," she said.

He wasn't sure he wanted to go to the parade, but his family — who had excitedly set up chairs along the route the night before — brought him to watch the event in his wheelchair, another of his granddaughters, Xochil Toledo, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

When shots were fired, Xochil said, her father tried to shield her grandfather, but Nicolas died at the scene.

The family of Nicolas Toledo is "shattered," his granddaughter Alba Toledo says.
The family of Nicolas Toledo is "shattered," his granddaughter Alba Toledo says.

Toledo, a great-grandfather and dual Mexican-American citizen, spent most of his life in Morelos, Mexico, and moved to Highland Park a few months ago to be with family, Xochil told the Sun-Times. It is unclear whether he is the Mexican national that an official from the Mexican Foreign Ministry’s North America unit said was among the victims.

He had eight children, a big smile and bright blue eyes, Xochil told the Sun-Times. He liked a home-cooked meal and had a great sense of humor. Alba Toledo told USA TODAY her grandfather loved drawing, hunting, fishing and going for walks in the park.

"We only wish that he's remembered as a great person, a hardworking man, a great father and grandfather, charismatic, fun, a fighter and adventurer," she said.

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Jacquelyn 'Jacki' Sundheim, 63

Sundheim was a dedicated congregant and staff member at North Shore Congregation Israel for decades, according to the synagogue, which confirmed her death in a statement on its website.

Sundheim helped organize events as the synagogue's B'nei Mitzvah coordinator. She taught at the Gates of Learning Preschool with "tireless dedication," according to the statement.

"Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all," the synagogue said.

"There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones," it said. "We know you join us in the deepest prayer that Jacki’s soul will be bound up in the shelter of God’s wings and her family will somehow find comfort and consolation amidst this boundless grief."

Stephen Straus, 88

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

Brothers Maxwell and Tobias Straus described their grandfather in an interview with The Associated Press as a kind and active man who loved walking, biking and attending community events.

A "product of Chicago" born and raised on the city's South Side, Stephen Straus loved the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and commuted on the Metra five days a week to his office downtown, his son, Jonathan, told the Chicago Tribune. He was an avid reader and joke teller.

“The way he lived life, you’d think he was still middle-aged,” Maxwell Straus told The Associated Press.

The two brothers recalled 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,” Maxwell said.

Katherine Goldstein, 64

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.”

Goldstein, of Highland Park, was a mother of two daughters in their early 20s: Cassie and Alana. She attended the parade with her older daughter, so Cassie could reunite with friends from high school, Craig Goldstein, a hospital physician, told the newspaper.

“I got to have 22 years with the best mom in the world. ... I did everything with her,” Cassie Goldstein told NBC News. “She was my best friend.”

Dr. Goldstein said his wife had recently lost her mother and thought about what kind of arrangements she might want when she died. He recalled that Katherine, an avid bird watcher, said she wanted to be cremated and have her remains scattered in the Montrose Beach area of Chicago, where there is a bird sanctuary.

“She was really selfless,” he told NBC News, “and seemingly always upbeat. ... She touched so many people in a positive way.”

Eduardo Uvaldo, 69

Uvaldo died Wednesday from a gunshot wound to the head, according to a verified GoFundMe set up by his family. He was taken off a ventilator Tuesday, according to the website. Uvaldo's grandson and wife were injured in the shooting.

Uvaldo and his family attended the Highland Park July Fourth parade every year "filled with happiness and laughter," his granddaughter, Nivia Guzman, wrote on the GoFundMe page.

"My grandpa is a kind, loving, and funny man who did not deserve this," the page says.

Contributing: Grace Hauck, Adrianna Rodriguez and Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Highland Park victims identified: List of victims from parade shooting