Over $2.5 million has been raised to support a 2-year-old boy after his father died shielding him during the Highland Park mass shooting. His mother was also killed by the gunman.
Aiden McCarthy, 2, was found by bystanders wandering around following the chaos of the Monday morning shooting.
The boy did not know his or his parents’ names and was taken to the Highland Park Police Department.
Aiden was attending the Independence Day parade with his parents, Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37.
The two McCarthys, who were Highland Park residents, were confirmed to be among the seven dead victims, according to Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek.
Michael Levberg, Aiden’s grandfather, said he was reunited with his grandson at the police department.
“When I picked him up, he said, ‘Are Mommy and Daddy coming soon?'” Levberg told the Chicago Tribune. “He doesn’t understand.”
Levberg told the Chicago Sun-Times that Aiden’s father, Kevin, died protecting Aiden. “He had Aiden under his body when he was shot,” Levberg said.
A GoFundMe account created Tuesday has raised over $2.6 million for the young boy and his family members.
Aiden will be raised by his grandparents along with other family members.
The boy will have a “long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan,” the GoFundMe said.
Aiden 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,” according to the account.
The fundraiser was started to help Aiden and his surviving family with financial expenses.
Police have said that Robert E. Crimo III, 21, of Highwood, was responsible for the shooting that occurred around 10:14 a.m. Monday near Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park.
He was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder Tuesday evening, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
Many additional charges will be filed against Crimo, Rinehart said.
“Our hearts go out to the seven families who lost loved ones yesterday. Dozens of people have already volunteered to support these families, and I know that Mayor Rotering, Chief Jogmen, Lake County, and our federal partners have already started the critical work of supporting these families who are most in need right now,” Rinehart said.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli said that Crimo pre-planned the attack for several weeks.
Crimo allegedly brought a high-powered rifle to the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.
Covelli said that Crimo used a fire escape ladder to access the roof of a building on the parade route.
Crimo then allegedly opened fire on parade-goers, killing seven people and injuring over 45 people. Over 80 rounds were fired from the rifle.
Crimo, who was dressed as a woman, exited the roof, dropped the rifle and escaped with the fleeing crowd, according to Covelli.
Crimo walked to his mother’s Highland Park home, which is nearby the parade route, and borrowed her silver 2010 Honda Fit, Covelli said.
A person spotted the wanted Honda Fit as it traveled southbound on Route 41 in North Chicago around 6:30 p.m. Monday as an intense manhunt was underway.
The person called 911 and a North Chicago police officer who was sitting at Route 41 and Buckley Road in North Chicago spotted Crimo drive past in the vehicle, Covelli and Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said.
A short pursuit ensued and it came to an end at Route 41 and Westleigh Road in Lake Forest.
Officers arrested Crimo and located a second rifle in his vehicle. The two rifles along with three other guns seized were legally purchased by Crimo himself.
Covelli said in a follow-up press conference that law enforcement had two prior encounters with Crimo.
One of those occurred in April 2019 when Highland Park police responded to a delayed report from a family member that Crimo attempted suicide.
Officers spoke to Crimo and his parents and determined the matter was being handled by mental health professionals, Covelli said.
The second encounter was in September 2019 when a family member reported Crimo threatened to “kill everyone.”
Police responded and removed 16 knives and other weapons from his residence. They then notified the Illinois State Police but officers did not arrest Crimo.
Covelli said there are no indications anyone else was involved in the Monday shooting.
Crimo confessed to the attack and told investigators that he had contemplated committing a second attack in Wisconsin.