Father Killed in Highland Park Shooting Died Shielding His 2-Year-Old Son, Family Says

A GoFundMe page established for the late couple's young son Aiden McCarthy has raised almost $2 million to date

Highland Park victim Kevin McCarthy died while using his body as a human shield to protect his 2 ½-year-old son, Aiden, his father-in-law revealed Tuesday.

"He had Aiden under his body when he was shot," Aiden McCarthy's grandfather Michael Levberg told the Chicago Sun-Times about the bravery of Kevin, 37, during the mass shooting, which claimed the lives of seven people and left more than two dozen injured.

Tragically, Aiden was orphaned in the attack, after Kevin and his wife, Irina, 35 – who is Levberg's daughter - were killed while watching the Independence Day parade in the small Illinois city.

Adding to the tragedy, the toddler was left "walking in the street" in the aftermath of the shooting according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

It was only when images of the child emerged that Levberg discovered his grandson's location and collected him from the Highland Park police station.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13017697o) Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of a mass shooting at a 4th of July celebration and parade in Highland Park, Illinois, USA, 04 July 2022. A gunman opened fire as people gathered to watch a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people and injuring dozens. Highland Park, Illinois, USA 4th of July parade shooting - 04 Jul 2022
The aftermath of Monday's parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

"A neighbor passed by, she showed me the picture, it was Aiden," Levberg told the newspaper. "I picked him up at the police station."

Heartbreakingly, his first words to Aiden were, "Mommy and Daddy are coming soon," Levberg told the outlet, before describing Irina, his only child, as "the love of my life."

"She was everything," he told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"They were crazy about their child," he said of the couple's love for their young son. "They were planning two."

Irina and Kevin McCarthy were killed in the Highland Park mass shooting Irina and Kevin McCarthy In the aftermath of the Highland Park, IL shootings on July 4, the North Shore community rallied to help a boy who we knew nothing about. We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family. https://www.gofundme.com/f/irina-and-kevin-mccarthy
Irina and Kevin McCarthy. gofundme

On Tuesday, Robert E. Crimo, III, 21, was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder during the attack, Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart announced in a press conference captured by FOX6 in Milwaukee.

Rinehart added that "dozens more charges" against Crimo will follow "centering around each of the victims" such as attempted murder and aggravated battery charges.

If found guilty, Crimo could face a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole, Rinehart added. Crimo is set for a court appearance on Wednesday morning where prosecutors will ask a judge to keep him in jail with no bail.

Nicolas Toledo, Jacki Sundheim
Nicolas Toledo, Jacki Sundheim. GoFundMe; NSCI

Along with Kevin and Irina McCarthy, other victims who have been publicly identified include Nicolas Toledo, 76, a grandfather who had been visiting his family from Mexico, and Jacki Sundheim, 63, a lifelong congregant of North Shore Congregation Israel who eventually joined the staff of her synagogue.

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A GoFundMe page created to assist Aiden's "long road ahead" in the aftermath of the tragedy has also now raised nearly $2 million for the family.

"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," organizers wrote. "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."

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