Funeral services for 3 Highland Park shooting victims to be held Friday

Shooting in Highland Park killed 7, injured at least 39

ByDiane Pathieu, Tre Ward, and Christian Piekos via WLS logo
Friday, July 8, 2022
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Three victims of the Highland Park, Illinois parade shooting will be laid to rest at funeral services Friday.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Funeral services are being held Friday for three of the seven people killed in Monday's mass shooting in Highland Park.

Family and friends are gathering together to honor Jacquelyn Sundheim, Stephen Straus and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza.

"You know what I feel? Grief. Grief for all of us, grief for highland park, America," Lynn Weitz said.

Services for 63-year-old Jacquelyn Lovi Sundheim began at 11 a.m. at North Shore Congregation Israel, located at 1185 Sheridan Road in Glencoe.

"Today, we will grieve together, and we will mourn together. But we will also be grateful for having shared in Jacki's life with her," said Wendi Geffen, senior rabbi at North Shore Congregation Israel. "She loved to have a great time. She gave great hugs. She had an amazing smile; she was fiercely protective and she was nobody's pushover."

Sundheim was a former school teacher and a dedicated congregant and worker at her synagogue.

"Jacki's life was not long enough. There is an incalculable list of all the should have beens. We'll never be able to tally it. Her life was beautiful," Geffen said.

Services for 88-year-old Stephen Straus took place at 12:30 p.m. at Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, located at 303 Dodge Ave. in Evanston.

"He was just an incredibly, I mean unusually sweet and kind person. Always curious about what you were up to and just loved to share in who you were and what you did," his son Jonathan Straus said. "Every time you saw him, no matter what was happening in his day, he always had this warm smile, and always greeted you warmly and was always truly, truly just to his core a sweet, generous person."

Straus was a beloved grandfather. His family said he could often be found enjoying the Art Institute. He loved life and was active, taking the Metra downtown for work or riding his bike.

His family said he was always interested in others first.

Jonathan Straus said he knows his dad had a few more good years still left in him.

Funeral services for 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza will take place from 5-8 p.m. at Iglesia Emanuel, located at 1300 W 10th St. in Waukegan.

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Toledo-Zaragoza was retired and living in Mexico. He was in the area visiting family when he was killed.

He was sitting in his wheelchair between his son and nephew when he was shot multiple times.

His son and a family friend were also shot, but survived.

Toledo-Zaragoza's body will be taken to his hometown in Mexico for his final resting place.

He leaves behind his children, grandchildren, and, his family said, many close friends.

One of them is a woman who works at a Highland Park Starbucks, who said she came to give her support to her friends, who are grandchildren of Toledo.

This is the second victim's funeral Jaleeza Moncivaiz has attended, and said, despite not marching in the parade with her daughters like she planned, she knew three people who were shot and killed.

Moncivaiz said her journey to support the victims, which includes Starbucks donating coffee to the Toledo-Zaragoza family, is just a small effort she wanted to provide.

"It's actually a very traumatic and unthought of experience," she said. "It's not easy to go through what we have gone through and to keep supplying for the community. That's what keeps me going."

Alan Castillo was with Toledo-Zaragoza at the parade. He was shot in the back when the gunfire erupted.

"I hit the floor. I'm like, 'I got hit, I got hit.' That's what I was yelling at my girlfriend," Castillo said. "I feel very lucky and unlucky to be going through this."

Meanwhile, memorials continue to grow near the shooting scene as the community is pulling together to help each other heal.

A large crowd gathered Thursday night for a moving candlelight vigil in Sunset Park.

"This is a different type of grief; this is a traumatic grief that most people never experience," said Linda Davis, who witnessed the shooting Monday.

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"It's just devastating to see my community have to go through this pain," said Jordana Hozman, vigil co-organizer and member of North Shore March for our Lives.

Residents shared stories of being at the parade when gunshots rang out on July Fourth, and they ran for their lives.

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Residents and businesses in Highland Park are trying to rally together and support one another as much as they can.