Nearly $3m raised for boy orphaned in Highland Park shooting as billionaire donates $18k

·2-min read

Nearly $3m (£2.5m) have been raised within hours for a toddler who lost both his parents in the mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people who were killed in the shooting spree. During the commotion, their two-year-old son Aiden was split up from his parents.

The boy was escorted to the sidelines by some of the participants in the rally amid the chaos.

However, certain videos and photos of the young boy strolling around the bloodied gunshot scene became viral and were widely shared on social media, sparking a search for the boy’s identity and calls for help.

He was reunited with his grandparents and other family members later. According to the grandfather, the child survived because his father covered him with his body.

The young child reportedly told his grandparents that “Mommy and Daddy are arriving soon” and seemed shocked.

Now a GoFundMe campaign has been set up by members of the community for the boy and he is receiving thousands of dollars every hour, crossing $2.8m (£2.3m) mark by Thursday morning after the highest donation of $18,000 (£15,000) was received from just one person the day before.

Billionaire hedgefund manager Bill Ackman claimed responsibility for the $18,000 donation, the Daily Beast confirmed.

Over 45,000 people have donated money for the child.

“At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” wrote Irina Colon on a GoFundMe account she created for the family and Aiden.

Irina and Kevin McCarthy, Aiden’s parents who were killed in the Fourth of July parade at Highland Park (GoFundMe)
Irina and Kevin McCarthy, Aiden’s parents who were killed in the Fourth of July parade at Highland Park (GoFundMe)

“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,” it said.

The campaign’s fundraising goal was set at $500,000 [£420,000] to “assist [Aiden] and the caregivers who will be tasked with raising, caring for, and supporting Aiden as he and his support system embark on this unexpected path,” the online campaign stated.

Friends of the McCarthys said Aiden’s maternal grandparents would care for the boy going forward.

Four of other others who were killed were identified on Tuesday as Katherine Goldstein, 64; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Stephen Straus, 88; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, all of them residents of Highland Park, except for Mr Toledo-Zaragoza, who was visiting family in the city from Morelos, Mexico.

The suspect Robert E Crimo III, 21, has been charged with seven counts of murder and faces a life sentence.

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