During a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois on Monday, a gunman opened fire—injuring dozens of people and killing six. During the chaos that unfolded in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, one couple helped to save a toddler who was separated from his parents. We now know that toddler, two-year-old Aiden McCarthy, lost both of his parents in the shooting.
Greg and Dana Ring fled their spots in the front row of the Highland Park parade route with their own three children in tow. As people began fleeing from the gunfire, a woman was carrying a toddler covered in blood.
“I wanted to try to find the little boy’s parents, went up, saw bodies, saw what was going on, then we went back to my in-laws,” Greg Ring tells WGN News. “‘They said can you take care of the little boy?’ We said ‘of course’, we took him back to our in-laws and he just stayed and watched cartoons with our in-laws and then we were told the latest that a detective came and took care of the little boy and he has been reunited with his grandparents, that’s all we know.”
The woman who initially rescued Aiden McCarthy is 38-year-old Lauren Silva, a former event planner who discovered a young boy who was pinned beneath his unconscious father after the dad was shot in the leg.
Silva tells the New York Times that she and her boyfriend rescued the boy from under his dad, and rushed the blood-covered child into Silva's arms. The child, still in diapers, had one shoe on, and his sock was soaked red, according to Silva. She said the child kept asking for his parents.
Silva took the boy back to her car to clean up the his scrapes and cuts. She says her boyfriend and his son were tending to the little boy's dad, tying a shirt around his leg in an effort to stop the bleeding before handing him off to the Rings.
Aiden is safe and being cared for by his grandparents. Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe for the toddler, who must now live the rest of his life without his mom and dad. Both Irina and Kevin McCarthy were killed in the shooting.
"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 GoFundMe reads. "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 Highland Park shooting suspect, a 22-year-old white man, was taken into custody by police near Lake Forest, Illinois, following a brief car pursuit. He was taken, unharmed, into police custody.
Residents in the Highland Park area will be coming to terms with the mass shooting that unfolded on an otherwise joyful family holiday for some time.
"The only thing I could hold onto is that kid's face and his touch and the sound of his voice," Silva said. "I feel like I want to hold on to, like, a little bit of emotion that I feel—which is telling that boy that his dad was going to come back."
You can donate to Aiden McCarthy's GoFundMe here.