Highland Park victims Kevin and Irina McCarthy leave behind toddler who must ‘navigate life as an orphan’
HIGHLAND PARK, ILLINOIS, USA, JULY 05-An empty chairs and bicycles remain near the scene of the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, on Monday, July 5, 2022.
Jacek Boczarski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The parents of the 2-year-old boy found in the chaotic aftermath of the Highland Park parade shooting were identified Tuesday as Kevin and Irina McCarthy.
The boy, Aiden, was unharmed in the massacre, according to a fundraiser verified by GoFundMe. He will be cared for by family members.
“Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” the page says. “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.”
Irina McCarthy’s father, Michael Levberg, told the Chicago Sun-Times that Kevin died protecting his son.
“He had Aiden under his body when he was shot,” Levberg told the newspaper. Hours later, when Levberg picked up Aiden at the Highland Park police station, the little boy told him: “Mommy and Daddy are coming soon.”
“They were crazy about their child,” Levberg added, his voice breaking, the newspaper reported. “They were planning two.”
Irina, 35, and Kevin, 37, were graduates of DePaul University in Chicago, the university said Tuesday night.
“We extend our prayers to their families, particularly their son Aiden, and all of those who have been affected by this senseless tragedy,” DePaul spokesman Russell Dorn said in an email.
Irina earned a bachelor of science in finance in 2009; Kevin earned the same degree two years later, according to Dorn.
Kevin McCarthy worked with Jaguar Gene Therapy, the Illinois company’s chief executive said in an email to employees, according to NBC Chicago. CEO Joe Nolan wrote that Kevin was a “star employee” with an “incredible work ethic.”
“Outside of work he was a very proud dad and devoted husband who adored his family,” Nolan wrote, according to the station. “We will miss him tremendously.”
Other victims killed at the holiday parade have been identified by police as Katherine Goldstein, 64; Jacquelyn (Jacki) Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78.