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What We Know About the Highland Park Shooting Victims

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HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — A grandfather in a choice viewing spot his family had found for him. A 63-year-old woman who was her synagogue’s go-to person for special events. A beloved uncle who still went to work every day, even in his late 80s. A suburban couple who had taken their toddler to the parade.

Still reeling from the violent attack on a Fourth of July celebration, families and friends of the seven paradegoers killed in Highland Park, Ill., began to share details on Tuesday about the casualties of yet another American mass shooting.

More than 30 people were also wounded, including four members of a single family.

Police said the victims, attacked by a gunman firing from a roof, ranged from octogenarians to children as young as age 8. All six of those who died on Monday were adults, said Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. A seventh person died on Tuesday, he said.

Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek on Tuesday afternoon announced the names of six of the seven people who died. Five of them were described as Highland Park residents, while one victim was described as being from Morelos, Mexico, though relatives said he had recently come to Highland Park to live with family.

Here is what we know about those who died, based on interviews.

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In the chaotic aftermath of the shooting, Lauren Silva — who moments before had merely been heading to breakfast — found a bloodstained toddler lying beneath a bleeding man. As her boyfriend and son worked frantically to help the man, who was unresponsive, Ms. Silva cradled the child, who kept asking if his parents were OK.

Word spread online about the little boy found at the scene of a massacre. Adrienne Rosenblatt, 71, saw a photo and recognized him as her neighbor, whom she had coached to overcome his fears of her small white dog, Lovie. She alerted the boy’s grandparents, who brought the boy home from the police station. His parents had not survived the attack.

On Tuesday, authorities identified the parents as Kevin and Irina McCarthy of Highland Park. Irina Colon of Northbrook, Ill., a relative of Irina McCarthy, said in a fundraising appeal that she posted on GoFundMe that the boy was “left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents.”

“It’s just sad,” Ms. Rosenblatt said, adding, “Do you call him an orphan?”

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A mother of two daughters in their early 20s, Katherine Goldstein was described by her husband, Craig Goldstein, as a perennial good sport who was willing to explore a succession of exotic locales without batting an eye. “She didn’t complain, ‘There are bugs.’ She was always along for the ride,” Dr. Goldstein, a hospital physician, said in an interview.

Dr. Goldstein said that his wife did not work outside their home after they were married in the late 1990s and that she devoted herself to being a mother. She took her elder daughter, Cassie, to the Highland Park parade on the Fourth so that Cassie could reunite with friends from high school. Ms. Goldstein was fond of playing games with her children, like the word game Bananagrams, her younger daughter, Alana, recalled.

Dr. Goldstein said that his wife and her siblings recently lost their mother, and that they had been discussing what kind of arrangements they would like for themselves upon their own death. He recalled that Katherine, an avid bird watcher, said she wanted to be cremated and to have her remains scattered in the Montrose Beach area of Chicago, where there is a bird sanctuary.

But the reflection on her own mortality was out of character, he said. “The amazing thing about Katie is that she never thought about her own death,” Dr. Goldstein said. “For me it’s almost a preoccupation. She never thought about it.”

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Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza didn’t want to attend the Highland Park Fourth of July parade, but his disabilities required that he be around someone full-time. And the family wasn’t going to skip the parade — even going so far as positioning chairs for a choice viewing spot at midnight the night before.

Mr. Toledo-Zaragoza was sitting in his wheelchair along the parade route, between his son and a nephew, when the bullets started flying. “We realized our grandfather was hit,” Xochil Toledo, his granddaughter, said. “We saw blood and everything splattered onto us.”

Mr. Toledo-Zaragoza suffered three gunshot wounds, killing him. He had moved back to Highland Park a few months ago from Mexico at the urging of family members. He had been struck by a car while walking in Highland Park a few years ago in a prior stint living with family, and had a range of medical issues resulting from that accident.

“We brought him over here so he could have a better life,” Ms. Toledo said. “His sons wanted to take care of him and be more in his life, and then this tragedy happened.”

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A smile and a hug. Those were the guarantees every time Jacquelyn Sundheim — known as “Jacki” — walked into Marlena Jayatilake’s spice shop in downtown Highland Park, Ill.

“She was such a beautiful human being, a beautiful ray of light,” Ms. Jayatilake said. “So it’s definitely a dark day.”

Ms. Sundheim, a member of the North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Ill., was among the people killed in Highland Park, according to the synagogue, where friends said she coordinated events and did a bit of everything else.

Janet Grable, a friend, said she went far beyond her expectations in planning the bar mitzvahs for both her children and arranging special seating for her mother when she joined services while in town.

A father of two, grandfather of four and a financial adviser who, at 88, still took the train every day from his Highland Park home to his office at a brokerage firm in Chicago, Stephen Straus “should not have had to die this way,” his niece, Cynthia Straus, said in a phone interview.

“He was an honorable man who worked his whole life and looked out for his family and gave everyone the best he had,” Ms. Straus said. “He was kind and gentle and had huge intelligence and humor and wit.”

He was devoted to his wife, she said, and intensely close with his brother, and extremely health conscious: “He exercised as if he were 50.”

And, she added, he should have been better protected.

“There’s kind of a mentality that this stuff doesn’t touch us,” she said. “And no one can think that way right now — we are in an internal war in this country. This country is turning on itself. And innocent people are dying.”

Eduardo Medina, Amanda Holpuch and Michael Levenson contributed reporting.



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