July 4 Highland Park parade shooting: Remembering the victims one year later


(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) — A doting grandfather who immigrated from Mexico to give his family a better life and two parents on a fun outing with their toddler were among the seven people shot and killed last year at a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

A 21-year-old gunman allegedly carried out the mass shooting in the leafy suburban Chicago town that, according to FBI statistics, hadn’t had a murder in more than 20 years.

Five of the victims who were randomly shot died at the scene of the shooting, while one perished at a hospital, according to officials. One day after the massacre, a seventh victim succumbed to his injuries at Evanston Hospital, officials said.

More than 30 people were wounded by the barrage of bullets that silenced the marching bands and prompted paradegoers to scramble for cover.

Katherine Goldstein, 64

Katherine Goldstein was a mother of two adult daughters, an avid bird watcher and someone who loved to travel, a friend told ABC News.

Betsy Backes said she first met Goldstein at a local community center north of Chicago when they were both pregnant with their second children. Goldstein invited Backes to her home and the two mothers began a close, 20-year friendship that ended abruptly when Goldstein was gunned down at the parade.

Backes spoke glowingly of her “dear friend Katie G.,” describing her as an “extraordinary person” and “everyone’s best friend” who was “always around for her kids.”

She said their daughters grew up together, and the families would go on adventures — all of them planned by Goldstein.

“No one could plan an adventure like she did,” she said.

On Halloween nights, she said the mothers would pass out candy at the Goldsteins’ front door while the fathers took the daughters trick-or-treating. Afterward, they would order Thai food and all sit together to eat.

“It is such a happy memory,” Backes said. “The little girls were so happy to be out with their daddies, and I was so happy to be with my friend, Katie, and passing out candy to the neighborhood kids.”

Goldstein was an avid bird watcher and loved visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden, Backes said. She said her friend was also a great cook, who made salmon for lunch and was always experimenting with new recipes.

“She would cook meals that were so adventurous and fun,” said Backes, who spotted a recipe notebook on the kitchen counter when she visited the Goldstein home Tuesday.

In it was a list of new recipes Goldstein had planned to try, including a Middle Eastern dish with za’atar spice.

“I looked down and I smiled because I thought, ‘Of course you’re doing that, Katie. Of course you’re doing that,"” Backes said.

Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37

Irina and Kevin McCarthy lived in Highland Park and were at the town’s July 4 parade with their 2-year-old son, Aiden, when they were both fatally shot, according to the Highland Park City manager.

Dana and Gregory Ring, who survived the shooting, told ABC News how another parade-goer found little Aiden alone, scooped him up and handed him to them in the chaos after the rampage.

“Every time I tried to ask him what his name was, the response he gave to me was, ‘Mama, Dada come get me soon. Mommy’s car come to get me soon,"” Dana Ring recalled in an interview with ABC News.

Unsure of what to do, the Rings took Aiden to a nearby fire station and the boy was later reunited with his grandparents.

Stephen Straus, 88

Stephen Straus was the oldest victim to die in the massacre, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office.

His son, John Straus, told the Chicago Tribune that his father was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side and described him as “a product of Chicago.”

But he said his dad loved his adopted hometown of Highland Park, where he lived for decades and raised his two sons with his wife of nearly 60 years, Linda.

“My dad was just very much a Highland Parker,” another son, Peter Straus, told the Tribune. “He lived here, and unfortunately he died here.”

A grandfather of four, Stephen Straus enjoyed attending the Highland Park Fourth of July parade every year, Peter Straus said.

“I called him [on the day of the shooting] just to wish him a Happy Fourth of July and he didn’t respond, which I didn’t make much of,” Peter Straus, who lives in San Francisco, told the newspaper. “And then news stories started coming out about a shooting in Highland Park.”

Jacki Sundheim, 63

Jacki Sundheim, a dedicated congregant and worker at her synagogue, North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois, was shot and killed at the Independence Day parade in Highland Park, according to the synagogue.

In a statement, the North Shore Congregation Israel described Sundheim as a “beloved” staff member who spent her early days teaching preschool and her entire life worshipping at the synagogue.

“There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones,” the synagogue said.

Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78

Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza was one of the slain victims from the parade, according to his family.

“My grandpa was a funny man. He’d always joke around and be playful with his grandkids. He arrived [in] the U.S. in the ’80s and worked around the Highland Park area for many years. He spent his last days swimming and fishing and being among family,” Toledo-Zaragoza’s grandson, David Toledo, told ABC News in a statement.

Toledo-Zaragoza was a native of Morelos, Mexico.

Eduardo Uvaldo, 69

The seventh victim to die from injuries suffered in the mass shooting was 69-year-old Eduardo Uvaldo.

Uvaldo’s granddaughter, Nivia Guzman, wrote on a GoFundMe page that her family attended the Highland Park parade every year.

In an interview with ABC News, three of Uvaldo’s four daughters said nine family members were at the parade when the shooting started. Uvaldo’s 13-year-old grandson, Brian, was shot in the arm and Uvaldo’s wife, Maria, was hit in the head by shrapnel, the family said.

They said Eduardo Uvaldo was shot in the arm and the back of the head.

“We just heard pop, pop, pop. We thought it was fireworks and then my sister saw the shooter,” Uvaldo’s daughter, Nubia Hogan, told ABC News.

Fred Castro, Eduardo Uvaldo’s son-in-law, said he also saw the gunman firing at the crowd from a rooftop.

Castro said he made sure other family members got out of harm’s way, then went back and stayed with Eduardo Uvaldo.

Another daughter, Susanna Uvaldo-Moncivais, told ABC News that she and her sisters, along with their mother, made the agonizing decision to have their father removed from a ventilator after doctors told them there was nothing more they could do to save his life.

But she said her father’s vitals remained stable and that her family prayed “for a miracle” that was never realized.

“He’s taught us how to be responsible,” Hogan said of her father. “My dad worked his whole life without missing a day. He always had the perfect attendance. He’s a good man.”

Eduardo Uvaldo was a grandfather of 13 and a great-grandfather of six.

“My grandpa is a kind, loving, and funny man who did not deserve this,” Guzman wrote in her GoFundMe statement.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.