A wheelchair-bound grandfather whose family had picked a spot on the sidewalk. A 63-year-old woman who was her synagogue’s liaison for special events. A beloved uncle who still went to work every day, even in his late 80s, his niece said.
Still reeling from the violent attack on a Fourth of July celebration, families and friends of the seven parade-goers killed in Highland Park, Illinois, began sharing details on Tuesday about the victims of yet another US mass shooting.
More than 30 people were also injured, including four members of a single family.
Police said the victims, attacked by a rooftop sniper, ranged from those in their 80s to children as young as 8 years old. All six of the deaths on Monday were adults, said Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. A seventh person died on Tuesday, he said.
Police have not yet released the names of the victims. Here’s what we know about some of those who died, based on interviews:
Nicolas Toledo, age 76
Nicolas Toledo did not want to attend the Highland Park Fourth of July Parade, but his disability required him to be around someone full time. And the family wasn’t about to skip the parade — not even to set up seats for a select viewing spot at midnight the night before.
Mr. Toledo was sitting in his wheelchair along the parade route, between his son and a cousin, when the bullets started flying. “We realized that our grandfather had been hit,” said his granddaughter Xochil Toledo. “We saw blood and everything splattered on us.”
mr. Toledo suffered three gunshot wounds, which killed him. He had moved back to Highland Park from Mexico a few months ago at the urging of relatives. He had been hit by a car while walking in Highland Park a few years ago while living with relatives, and had a series of medical problems as a result of that accident.
“We brought him here so he can have a better life,” said Mrs. Toledo. “His sons wanted to take care of him and be more in his life, and then this tragedy happened.”
A smile and a hug. Those were the assurances every time Jacki Sundheim walked into Marlena Jayatilake’s spice shop in downtown Highland Park, Illinois.
“She was such a beautiful person, a beautiful beam of light,” said Jayatilake. “So it’s definitely a dark day.”
According to the synagogue, Sundheim, a member of the North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois, was among those killed in Highland Park.
Sundheim worked at the synagogue, coordinating the events and doing a little bit of everything. Janet Grable, a friend, said she far exceeded her expectations in planning bar mitzvahs for both her children and arranging special seating for her mother when she went to services while in town.
Steve Straus, 88
Steve Straus, a father of two, grandfather of four, and a financial advisor who at age 88 still took the train every day from his home in Highland Park to his office at a brokerage firm in Chicago, shouldn’t have had to act this way. die. ‘ his niece, Cynthia Straus, said in a telephone interview.
“He was an honorable man who worked all his life and took care of his family and gave everyone the best he had,” said Ms Straus. “He was kind and gentle and had tremendous intelligence, wit and humor.”
He was devoted to his wife, she said, and intensely close to his brother, and extremely health-conscious: “He exercised like he was 50.”
And, she added, he should have been better protected.
“There’s this kind of mentality that this stuff doesn’t affect us,” she said. “And no one can think like that right now – we are in an internal war in this country. This country is turning against itself. And innocent people are dying.”
Edward Medina reporting contributed.