Hundreds of community members gathered and held a vigil in Highland Park Wednesday evening to remember the seven people who were killed in the Fourth of July parade shooting.
The community gathered at 7 p.m. Wednesday outside the Highland Park City Hall, 1707 Saint Johns Avenue.
The Highland Park Strings and Chicago Pipe & Drums performed before Rabbi Ike Serotta from Makom Solel Lakeside, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, Reverend Quincy Worthington from the Highland Park Presbyterian Church and Carlos Sims from the Ravinia Festival Jazz Scholar Program gave remarks.
“While I am so proud of our community for coming together, I wish it were not because of a tragic act of gun violence,” Rotering said, addressing the large crowd of people.
Rotering called the mass shooting the “bloodiest day we have ever experienced in Highland Park.”
She called Robert E. Crimo III, the alleged gunman, a “hateful and cowardly individual.”
“Seven individuals were senselessly murdered, dozens more were injured, and countless numbers of our children and community members have been traumatized,” Rotering said.
“Tonight, we mourn for those who were murdered, we mourn for their families, we mourn for their friends, we mourn for their neighbors, and we mourn for our community.”
Officials identified the victims as Katherine Goldstein, 64, of Highland Park; Irina McCarthy, 35, of Highland Park; Kevin McCarthy, 37, of Highland Park; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, of Highland Park; Stephen Straus, 88, of Highland Park; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, of Morelos, Mexico; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, of Waukegan.
“They were brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, grandparents, cousins, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and so much more,” Rotering said.
A moment of silence was held for the seven victims who died in the shooting.
Rotering called everyone survivors, saying, “The trauma of gun violence doesn’t end when the shooting stops.”
“Experiencing gun violence in our community has a lasting impact on us – we are the survivors.”
“As we face the ugly truth of what happened here, we are reminded of the fragility and vulnerability of life. It forces us to put things in perspective, challenges us to expand our understanding of how things work, and connects us with one another in profound ways,” Rotering said.
“We will keep those murdered in our hearts and in our minds as we work to resolve that this evil attack will not define who we are, nor will it define how we treat each other. We will recognize our common humanity as we live our lives. We acknowledge that the intensity of our grief and suffering represents the depth of our love we hold for our neighbors and our hometown.”
“We will listen to each other’s story and understand that in each and every story there is love, loss, and a need for hope. We will care for each other and provide strength when it is needed most. And with time, this will carry us through.”
“This is who we are – we are Highland Park and we are strong together,” Rotering added.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, whose district includes Lake County, held a moment of silence for the victims on the House of Representatives floor at the capitol Wednesday evening.
“There are no words to describe the heartbreak of our community. The grief, but also the anger,” Schneider said.
“These beautiful people were the center of the universe for their families, and pillars of strength for their communities. They were loving parents and grandparents, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters. They had personal passions and diverse interests…and all loved life. Each one had a special spark that will still burn bright within the people who knew and loved them.”
“Today we unite and stand with Highland Park as they mourn. Tomorrow I pray that we can unite in this body to stand up and work together to bring this awful violence to an end,” Schneider added.