The little boy who was found bloodied during the Highland Park parade shooting on Monday and lifted from underneath his father is left orphaned after both is parents were killed in the gruesome attack.
Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people killed during the Fourth of July celebration.
Their two-year-old son, Aiden McCarthy, had been separated from his parents during the chaos and luckily unharmed. He has been placed in the care of his grandparents.
A GoFundMe page was established to help Aiden’s family with ‘raising, caring for and supporting’ him. The account has already raised more than $79,000.
At least seven people were killed and dozens more were injured after a 21-year-old shooter opened fire on the Independence Day parade with an AR-15 style weapon.
Two-year-old Aiden McCarthy (pictured) was left orphaned Monday after his parents were both killed during the Highland Park parade shooting
Aiden McCarthy (pictured with an unknown man) was reunited with his grandparents on Monday after being found underneath his injured father at the parade
Aiden was kept safe during the tragic shooting by complete strangers, GoFundMe organizer Irina Colon revealed.
‘We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family,’ she wrote.
‘The North Shore community rallied to help a boy who we knew nothing about. Sadly, I need to share his name…Aiden McCarthy and he needs more of our help.’
‘Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,’ she added.
Colon claimed Aiden has been placed in the care of his grandparents, Misha and Nina Levberg, but still faces a long journey to ‘heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan.’
‘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,’ she explained.
‘On behalf of his family, and with their permission, I am establishing this fundraiser to support him and the caregivers who will be tasked with raising, caring for, and supporting Aiden as he and his support system embark on this unexpected journey.’
Aiden was found by Lauren Silva, 38, of Deerfield, and her boyfriend after they heard gunshots as they were heading to breakfast at Walker Bros restaurant.
Silva told the Daily Beast they emerged from a parking garage a few blocks away from the shooting just as the violence began to unfold.
‘We were just opening the door to walk up the stairs and we heard it…boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,’ she told the Beast. ‘And it sounded like someone was, like, pounding on the glass doors.’
Silva and her boyfriend and his son began running toward those who were injured, when suddenly, her boyfriend thrusted the little boy into her arms.
‘My boyfriend handed me this little boy and said he was underneath this father who was shot in the leg,’ she told the Beast. ‘They were trying to stop the bleeding so I brought the boy downstairs into the garage.’
Once inside the garage, she managed to clean out his scrapes and washed the blood off him. She said he was wearing one shoe and his sock was covered in blood.
‘He kept asking if mom and dad are going to come back soon,’ she said.
Silva reemerged from the parking garage after 20 minutes to see how the father was doing. She handed Aiden off to a family she was hunkering down in the garage with, who took him to the hospital and later handed him to police. He was eventually reunited with his grandparents.
Dana Ruder Ring, who was taking care of the child until 8 p.m., according to Fox 32 Chicago, posted the original photo of the boy to help identify him.
Silva, a mother of two, said she’s holding on to the memory of the ‘kid’s face and his touch and the sound of his voice.’
‘I feel like I want to hold on to, like, a little bit of emotion that I feel—which is telling that boy that his dad was going to come back,’ she said.
The gunman opened fire at 10:14 a.m. on Monday, barely 15 minutes into the parade. He then fled the scene and hid throughout the day before eventually being arrested at 6:30 p.m. in Lake Forrest, eight miles north of where the massacre unfolded
First responders work the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park
Horror on Independence Day: A police officer bows his head in grief next to abandoned strollers and chairs after a shooting that killed seven people in Highland Park
The gunman, Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo, 21, has been taken into custody and is awaiting charges.
He began shooting with an AR-15 style weapon shortly after 10 a.m. from a rooftop along the parade route. Police said Tuesday that Crimo dressed as a woman to disguise himself and easily slipped into the crowd of panicked bystanders, evading law enforcement.
He was eventually arrested about eight hours after the shooting.
Video shot by a Sun-Times journalist after the gunfire rang out shows a band on a float continuing to play as people run past, screaming. A photo posted to social media appeared to show pools of blood near upturned chairs in downtown Highland Park.
Miles Zaremsky, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1960s, said he witnessed the ‘carnage.’
‘The crowd started stampeding. I had never seen that before. I saw blood on people’s bodies. Two or three people looked deceased to me. It was absolutely disgusting and gut-wrenching and I was sick to my stomach.’
‘I did see a little boy [covered in blood] in his parents’ arms who looked [pale]. They were yelling for medics…It’s surreal, it’s like out of a science fiction but it is real.’
Gina Troiani and her son were lined up with his daycare class ready to walk onto the parade route when she heard a loud sound she believed to be fireworks – until she heard people yell about a shooter.
‘We just start running in the opposite direction,’ she told the Associated Press.
Her five-year-old son was riding his bike decorated with red and blue curled ribbons. He and other children in the group held small American flags.
The city said on its web site that the festivities were to include a children’s bike and pet parade. Troiani said she pushed her son’s bike, running through the neighborhood to get back to their car.
In a video that Troiani shot on her phone, some of the kids are visibly startled at the loud noise and scramble to the side of the road as a siren wails nearby.
‘It was just sort of chaos,’ she said. ‘There were people that got separated from their families, looking for them. Others just dropped their wagons, grabbed their kids and started running.’
Matt Phillip, director of a tasting room at Lynfred Winery, said he heard ‘what sounded like fireworks’ before seeing people ‘running down the street.’
‘We opened our doors so they could either seek shelter within our facility or exit through our back-alley door.’
He said about 30 people sheltered in the store for approximately 15 minutes.
The parade on Monday in Highland Park was attended by dozens of locals who sat on the sidewalk cheering as bands marched past
Panicked paradegoers at the scene on Monday. There were loud sounds from the crowd that some said were gunshots
The bloody scene on Monday, after Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo opened fire on a Fourth of July parade
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said in a tweet that he is ‘closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park’ and that Illinois State Police are assisting. The ISP said in an email that it was assisting in the response to an active shooter reported around 10:24 a.m.
The Lake County Sheriff´s Office said on Twitter that it is assisting Highland Park Police ‘with a shooting in the area of the Independence Day parade route.’
The sheriff’s office directed an AP reporter to contact Highland Park Police. The Police Department said no one was immediately available to comment.
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float with coworkers and the group was preparing to turn onto the main route when she saw people running from the area.
‘People started saying: “There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,”‘ Glickman told the Associated Press. ‘So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.’
She didn’t hear any noises or see anyone who appeared to be injured.
‘I’m so freaked out,’ she said. ‘It’s just so sad.’