Toddler found alone after Highland Park parade shooting lost parents Irina and Kevin McCarthy

Liz Nagy Image
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Toddler found alone after Highland Park shooting lost both parents
A toddler found bloodied and alone after the Highland Park parade shooting lost both parents Irina and Kevin McCarthy in the massacre.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- A 2-year-old boy who was found alone in the aftermath of the Highland Park parade shooting lost both of his parents to the gunfire, officials revealed Tuesday.

Kevin and Irina McCarthy had taken their young son into town for the annual Fourth of July parade Monday. Gunfire struck both parents, and a panicked stranger scooped up their little boy.

READ MORE: Highland Park parade shooting victims identified

"When we pulled in, it looked like the cops were getting ready for war; I'll never forget. I pulled up, and I said, 'this is not our kid. It's not his blood; he's OK. What should we do?' And the cop said, 'we can't be babysitters now; can you take care of him?' We said, 'of course," parade-goer Greg Ring said.

"Every time I tried to ask him what his name was, the response he gave to me was, 'Mama, Dada come get me soon. Mommy's car come to get me soon,'" Dana Ring recalled in an interview that aired Wednesday on "Good Morning America."

A neighbor saw his photo on the neighborhood watch page and helped reunite the toddler with his grandparents.

"He didn't know. I don't know how they're going to tell him," said Adrienne Rosenblatt, victims' neighbor. "How do you tell any 18-month-old boy that mommy and daddy are in heaven now? There are no words."

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The McCarthys' family and the families, friends and neighbors of six other victims, and entire communities, are left emotionally gutted by the premeditated shooting.

The boy's grandfather said the child survived because his father shielded him with his body.

"He had Aiden under his body when he was shot," the father-in-law said.

When he picked up his grandson at the Highland Park police station, Michael Levberg said the boy told him, "Mommy and Daddy are coming soon."

Irina McCarthy, an only child, "was the love of my life," her father said. "She was everything."

Born in Russia, she settled in the Chicago area with her immigrant father and mother, Nina Levberg. She worked as a waitress and attended Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire and DePaul University before landing a job in digital marketing in the pharmaceutical industry, her father said.

He said she met her husband Kevin - who worked for a gene therapy startup - through her job in pharmaceuticals.

The McCarthys had been looking forward to the parade and going to see it with Aiden, Levberg said.

"They were crazy about their child," he said, his voice breaking . "They were planning two."

Early Tuesday evening, the couple's bodies had not yet been released to their families.

"We don't know what to do," Levberg said.

Jacqui Sundheim was part of the fabric of her synagogue.

"She just had a smile on her face all the time. She was probably the last one out of here every night. Just couldn't find a lovelier person," said her friend Howard Miller.

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Katie Goldstein's husband and daughters said the same of her: No one had met anyone nicer.

Stephen Straus and Nicolas Toledo's relatives are suffering too. Not a single one of these families expected a parade would end in this agony. Now they are left planning funerals they had no intention or warning to plan for.

Sun-Times Media and ABC News contributed to this report.