A two-year-boy found alone and bloodied in the aftermath of the July 4 shooting outside Chicago lost both parents in the attack, it has emerged.
The child, identified as Aiden, was thought to have been separated from his mother and father in the chaos, however Kevin, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were named on Tuesday by police as being among the list of seven victims.
Social media users shared pictures of Aiden in the hours after the attack on an Independence Day parade in the Highland Park area of Illinois, hoping to reunite him with his family.
In the images, the child with blonde curls was seen clutching a blanket for comfort while his socks and shoes appeared to be covered in dried blood.
Witnesses Lauren Silva and her boyfriend, who found the toddler, were emerging from an underground carpark at the parade area when the shots rang out above them. They spotted Aiden trapped under the body of a man believed to be his father.
Silva’s partner pulled the young boy free and handed him to her while he attempted to stop the man’s leg from bleeding.
Seven people were killed and more than 30 injured by semi-automatic gunfire during the town’s independence celebrations.
The suspected shooter, named as 21-year-old Robert Crimo, has been charged with seven counts of murder.
“We were just opening the door to walk up the stairs and we heard it — boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. It sounded like someone was, like, pounding on the glass doors,” she said.
They presumed the severely injured man they saw in the street was the boy’s father.
“My boyfriend handed me this little boy and said he was underneath his father who was shot in the leg,” she told The Daily Beast.
“They were trying to stop the bleeding so I brought the boy downstairs into the garage.”
'He kept asking if mum and dad would come back soon'
Silva, 38, a mother of two, said she cleaned up his scrapes and tried to reassure him before handing him to police officers.
“He kept asking if mum and dad are going to come back soon,” she said.
A GoFundMe page had reached $1.5m at time of writing with donations from billionaire investor Bill Ackman and others.
“We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family,” the GoFundMe description signed by Irina Colon reads.
“Sadly, I need to share his name…Aiden McCarthy. And he needs more of our help. His parents Irina & Kevin were killed during the July 4 shooting. At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents.
“Aiden will be cared for by his loving grandparents, Misha and Nina Levberg, and he will have a long road ahead 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,” the page reads.
“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.”
Four other victims were named by the coroner on Tuesday afternoon: Katherine Goldstein, 88; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78.
A seventh victim, who died in hospital on Tuesday, has not been named.
The family of Mexico-born grandfather Nicholas Toledo confirmed his death on Monday afternoon.
Police spokesman Christopher Covelli said no motive had been established for the attack.
"We do believe Crimo pre-planned this attack for several weeks," and that he acted alone, he said.
"We have no information to suggest at this point it was racially motivated, motivated by religion or any other protected status," he added.
"There will be more charges," Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart told reporters. "We anticipate dozens of more charges centered around each of the victims."