Highland Park shooting: appeal raises $2m for toddler who lost both parents

<span>Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA</span>
Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA

A fundraiser to help the family of a toddler whose parents were both shot to death in the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park has surpassed $2m, following an outpouring of grief after the boy was found wandering alone in the aftermath of the massacre.

A picture of two-year-old Aiden McCarthy went viral before he was reunited with his grandparents. Later it was revealed that the child’s parents were both dead.

Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were attending the parade in the upmarket Chicago suburb when a gunman killed them and five other people, as well as injuring dozens more.

As his father lay wounded, he used his body to shield Aiden, according to Irina’s father and Aiden’s grandfather, Michael Levberg.

Related: Highland Park shooting suspect charged with murder as police reveal past threat against family

Local television station CBS Chicago reported that the GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for McCarthy and his grandparents, who will now raise him.

“At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” the page said.

The toddler was temporarily cared for by other people after being found alone following the deadly shooting. Dana and Greg Ring, who helped take care of the child, described finding him in the arms of a stranger who appeared to be in shock.

“She was physically shaking, her whole body,” Dana Ring said in the interview with CBS. “Which told us that ... she shouldn’t be having to hold and/or deal with a little one at the same time.

“We took the little boy [and] I put him in my arms,” she added.

The child was later reunited by law enforcement officials with his grandparents at a hospital.

“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,” the fundraiser page said.