What began as festive fun celebrating America’s Independence turned into horror when a gunman opened fire from a rooftop on the Highland Park, Illinois Fourth of July parade. The senseless act marks the 306th fatal mass shooting to take place in the country since the beginning of 2022.
The attack occurred around 10:10am, during which 70 rounds of ammunition were fired into the crowd near Central Avenue and 2nd Street Avenue. As the dust settled, it was confirmed that the attack resulted in seven fatalities and injuries were sustained by 38 bystanders — these numbers are still evolving.
As of press time, we currently know the identities of seven victims that lost their lives to the weekend’s senseless gun violence:
Toldeo, 76, attended the parade with his family even though he didn’t want to, but was bound due to his disabilities and wheelchair use. He was retired and lived in Mexico, but would come during the summer to spend time with his kids and grandchildren.
In a statement his grandson said, “My grandpa was a funny man. He’d always joke around and be playful with his grandkids….he spent his last days swimming and fishing and being among family.”
Donations from this GoFundMe will support funeral expenses for Nicolas Toledo.
Jacki Sundheim, 63, was a lifelong congregant and “beloved” staff member at North Shore Congregation Isreal (NSCI). The synagogue said she leaves behind her husband, Bruce, and daughter, Leah.
“Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all, from her early days teaching at the Gates of Learning Preschool to guiding innumerable among us through life’s moments of joy and sorrow as our Events and B’nei Mitzvah Coordinator– all of this with tireless dedication,” NSCI wrote in a statement.
“No one has ever met anyone nicer” her husband told ABC Chicago.
Donations from this GoFundMe will support the family of Jacki Sundheim, including funeral expenses.
Irina McCarthy & Kevin McCarthy
Irina, 35 and Kevin, 37, leave behind their 2-year-old son Aiden, who was found by strangers and brought to safety. It was later revealed that Kevin died shielding his son.
“They were crazy about their child,” Michael Levberg, father of Irina McCarthy, told NBC News.
Aiden’s grandmother Margo McCarthy, who had gone with her son and daughter-in-law to the parade, was also injured in the shooting.
Donations from this GoFundMe will support Aiden McCarthy and his family.
Katherine Goldstein, 64, was an avid bird-watcher and loved to travel with her husband, Craig. She was a proud mother to her 22-year-old daughter, Cassie Goldstein. Cassie told NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt that her mother was looking to get out of the house and have some fun at the parade. When the shooting started, both mother and daughter ran, but Katherine was fatally shot.
“She was just a good mom. And I got 22 years with her. And I got to have 22 years with the best mom in the world,” Cassie said.
Katie’s husband Craig told The Daily Herald “How many best friends can one person have? She was that to so many people.”
Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Straus, 88, attended the Highland Park parade every year. “My dad was just very much a Highland Parker,” said Peter Straus told the Chicago Tribune. “He lived here, and unfortunately he died here.”
Straus had two sons, was a grandfather, joke teller and a lover of the arts. His other son Jonathan Straus remembered his “amazing” father as an “exceptionally kind person” who was “one of the sweetest people you could ever meet.”
A 69-year-old resident of Waukegan and native of Mexico, Eduardo was a loving father to four, a grandfather to more than 16 and devoted husband. The family had attended the parade for several years. His wife of 50 years, Maria Uvaldo, was also injured and their grandson was shot in the arm.
“He was especially affectionate to his grandchildren,” Jackie Tapia, a close family friend, told the Chicago Tribune. “And his wife was — still is ― his light.”
“We are extremely thankful for the outpouring of love for the family, but we wish this wasn’t happening,” Tapia added.
Donations from this GoFundMe will support the Uvaldo family.
More Ways to support the victims, those injured and their families:
- Highland Park Community Foundation has formed a July 4th Shooting Response Fund. All donations will go directly to victims, survivors and local organizations that support them.
- The Lake County Community Foundation Highland Park Crisis Relief Efforts: donations support individual victims and families directly impacted by the shooting.
- All-Victims Fund: funeral costs, medical bills, and mental health support for all victims and families (in collaboration with Victims First)
- Donations from this GoFundMe will “go towards funeral costs, medical bills, and mental health support. Highland Park City Council, Mayor Rotering and the Human Relations Committee will be involved in distributing funds.”
- Donations from this GoFundMe will support the various members of the Kolpack and Joyce families and their medical expenses.
- Donations from this GoFundMe will help “cover all medical expenses and post care needed” for Alan Castillo.
- Donations from this GoFundMe will support Lilli Carrasco’s medical and therapy expenses.
- Donations from this GoFundMe will support the Red Oak 6th grader and his mother’s medical expenses.
How to help take action against gun violence and put common sense gun laws in place:
Be a part of the solution and take action to help prevent future tragedies like this one. Here are four ways you can take a stand and join the movement to stop gun violence right now.
Help move assault weapon bans forward:
Illinoisans have a critical opportunity to stop assault weapons from being sold in our state. The IL House of Representatives has a bill ready to be voted on that bans assault weapons statewide. Whether you live in Illinois or in another state, contact your representatives and demand action.
Urge legislators to fight for universal background checks, for national red-flag laws and to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines:
- Here’s all you need to know about the best ways to tell Congress gun laws need to change.
- The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence suggests contacting Senator Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader and demand that he brings Congress back from summer recess to act. Text “EMERGENCY” to 877-877 to be connected to his office.
- Giffords will patch you through to your senators directly and you can use their calling script to make your voice heard.
- Look for your senator’s contact information here and your representative’s information here, and write to them.
- And, if you live in Illinois, here’s an easy way to reach your officials using a simple online form.
More From Better:
- Give Time, Things, Support: 6 Ways to Make a Difference Around Chicago and the North Shore This July
- Highland Park Fourth of July Parade Shooting: Remembering the Victims, Supporting Survivors and Ways to Help Stop Gun Violence
- You Said It: Leading in Turbulent Times — Move from Mindfulness to Mind Stillness
Lucy Shapiro is Better’s editorial intern for the summer of 2022, currently a rising senior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying Journalism with a minor in Political Science.