A verified GoFundMe fundraiser for a 2-year-old boy who lost both of his parents to gun violence on Monday has raised over $1.8 million and counting, as of Wednesday morning. The boy’s parents were gunned down at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, which saw seven people murdered and dozens injured.
At least 34,742 people have donated to the GoFundMe campaign so far, with the top donation currently sitting at $18,000, as of the time of this writing. Both strangers and friends of the family alike have donated, with one person writing, “very heartbreaking! (still remember the babyshower two years ago). Aiden, you will be surrounded by many love and care!!”
The orphaned boy, Aiden McCarthy, was watching the parade with his parents when a gunman started firing into the crowds from a rooftop position, police allege. The boy’s parents, 35-year-old Irina McCarthy and 37-year-old Kevin McCarthy, were killed in the gunfire, though a motive has not yet been established and it’s not clear if they were targeted for any particular reason or just unlucky.
Aiden was found wandering alone in the aftermath of the shooting, leading people to share his photo on social media searching for answers. Tragically, both of his parents were killed and he was picked up by a stranger who was described as being in shock.
“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 organizer of the GoFundMe campaign wrote.
“He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love, and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows.”
The Fourth of July saw at least four other incidents where crowds believed they were in danger from gun violence, which sent crowds fleeing. In Philadelphia, two police officers were injured in gunfire, though it’s still a mystery how it happened. And fireworks displays in Washington, Orlando, and Harrisburg all saw large groups of people running out of fear that firecrackers were actually gunfire.
GoFundMe has set up a landing page with all of the verified fundraisers for victims of the Highland Park massacre, where people are looking for help with medical bills, therapy, and funeral expenses.