A crowdfunding campaign that was launched Tuesday for 2-year-old Aiden McCarthy, whose parents were both killed in the mass shooting at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Ill., has raised more than $2.5 million.
Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among seven people who were killed in the July 4 massacre, which left dozens of others injured.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Aiden’s father died while shielding him from the gunfire.
A local couple told CBS Chicago that they found Aiden with a stranger, who was in shock, and took the boy in until police picked him up and reunited him with his grandparents at a hospital.
“At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” reads a note on the GoFundMe page, which was organized by Irina Colon with permission of the boy’s family. “He will have a long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised more than $2,528,000 from over 45,000 donations.
According to Colon, the money raised will go both to the boy and to “the caregivers who will be tasked with raising, caring for, and supporting Aiden as he and his support system embark on this unexpected journey.”
The alleged gunman, 21-year-old Robert Crimo III of Highwood, Ill., was arrested during a traffic stop several hours after the attack.
He was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and appeared Wednesday in court, where he did not enter a plea and was ordered held without bond. His next court appearance was set for July 28.
According to police, Crimo fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd from a rooftop using a high-powered rifle that was purchased legally, and was dressed as a woman to disguise his appearance and help him escape.
Chris Covelli, spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said the alleged gunman had two prior interactions with police, both in 2019, but was not placed on the “red flag” list that would have prevented him from buying the guns used in the attack.
Authorities believe Crimo was planning the assault on the parade "for several weeks," Covelli said, but there is no information to suggest it was racially or religiously motivated.