Fundraising campaign amasses almost $3M for Jewish toddler orphaned in Illinois shooting

Two-year-old Aiden McCarthy will be raised by his grandparents.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

A GoFundMe campaign organized to help support an orphaned Jewish toddler who parents were both killed in the mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, on Monday has raised nearly $3 million.

Irina McCarthy, 35 — a Jewish immigrant from Russia who moved to the Chicago area with her parents — and Kevin McCarthy, 37, were both killed while attending the parade with their 2-year-old son Aiden McCarthy. Kevin was struck by a bullet while shielding his son with his body, according to Irina’s father, Michael Levberg. Also wounded in the shooting was Aiden’s paternal grandmother Margo McCarthy, who had attended the parade with her son and daughter-in-law.

After the shooting, Aiden was found “walking in the street” alone, his grandfather told the Chicago Sun Times. Photos began circulating of the toddler online and after a neighbor showed Levberg the picture, he picked up his grandson at the police station. “When I picked him up, he said, ‘Are Mommy and Daddy coming soon?’” Levberg said. “He doesn’t understand.”

The GoFundMe page set up for young boy said, “Aiden will be cared for by his loving family and 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.”

The fundraiser aims to help “support him and the caregivers who will be tasked with raising, caring for, and supporting Aiden as he and his support system embark on this unexpected journey.”

Levberg told the Chicago Sun Times that Irina, his only child, “was the love of my life” and that the couple was “crazy about their child.”

Kevin McCarthy is also survived by his father Michael and sister Katie. A family member said, “We’re going to join forces to support Aiden here and to do the best we can to help our nation try and prevent these events from happening in the future.”

Highland Park native Robert E. Crimo III, 21, admitted during his first court appearance on Wednesday to opening fire on the Independence Day parade, killing seven people and injuring dozens of others. He faces seven counts of first-degree murder.