Irina McCarthy – The Washington Post


HIGHLAND PARK, IL.Eight days after the Highland Park shooting, mourners packed a funeral home to honor Irina McCarthy, who was killed protecting her two-year-old son Aiden. McCarthy’s husband Kevin also died in the killing spree, leaving seven dead and dozens injured, including an eight-year-old whose spine was severed by a bullet.

“Our hearts are broken,” said Rabbi Dovid Flinkenstein told mourners during a service at the Weinstein & Piser Funeral Home in nearby Wilmette. “The pain is unbearable. There are tears. We don’t want to be here, nor should we be here today.”

Family and friends described McCarthy, 35, as Aiden’s loyal friend and tomboy mother. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D) and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering were in attendance along with about 150 others.

During the service, friends described Kevin McCarthy as the love of Irina’s life and vowed to take care of their son. A family friend said Aiden will “have a family and a home and will thrive and grow with us.”

McCarthy’s colleagues at North Chicago-based pharmaceutical company AbbVie also spoke, describing her as “more than a colleague, she was a friend.” The Chicago Tribune reported that McCarthy was an executive in oncology, according to LinkedIn.

Plans for Kevin McCarthy, 37, have not yet been announced.

McCarthy’s funeral was just the latest reminder of the tragedy that has struck this still traumatized city. On Monday, community members gathered at the recently reopened site of the shooting. Some brought flowers and photos; others came simply to bear witness.

Mackenzie Mottlowitz, 30, was at the parade with her entire family when filming began. Her family had attended the Fourth of July celebrations for 25 years, always in the same location. When the gunman fired into the crowd from a rooftop last week, she and her family fell to the ground amid broken glass and fallen bodies.

Since then, Mottlowitz woke up in tears and dreamed run away from a shooter and hide. “I came here to make sure I got a picture of what’s going on inside my own head,” she said.

Mottlowitz said she and her sisters Madison, 29, and Miranda, 21, have been inseparable since the shooting.

Lindsey Hartman, 41, was also at the parade along with her husband Danny and their 4-year-old daughter Scarlett. As filming began, she and Danny cuddled onto their girl.

When she returned to the crime scene Monday, there were still traces of glass on the floor and bullet holes directly above where she lay on the floor. “It punctuated how close we were,” Hartman said.

As she laid down seven stones collected by her daughter, Hartman cried. “In Jewish culture, you leave a stone in the cemetery,” she said. “I sat at the memorial of each individual and sobbed.”

Others cried too, she said. Strangers suddenly felt like family.

At Highland Park High School, therapists and social workers were on site to speak to those affected. Some of them had come from other states, and Many had recently worked with victims of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. When those seeking help arrived, they were given colour-coded ribbons – blue for those who took part in the shooting, white if not. Toys had been donated by local businesses, a distraction for children waiting their turn.

Hartman said she spoke to someone at school and it helped. “That’s their job, and yet you felt like you were talking to friends or family,” she said. She said her daughter is fine, although she needs a few more hugs.

Others have it harder.

“No one should hear their 7-year-old say they’re glad ‘none of their friends got killed’ before you tuck them to bed at night,” said Jordana Greenberg, 40, a lifelong Highland Park resident who also attended the Therapy attended secondary school. “No one should hear her 5-year-old say she doesn’t want to ride her bike anymore because her last memory of it was during ‘the parade where people got hurt.’ I wouldn’t wish that pain and uncharted territory on anyone.”

Susan Isaacson, 68, was at the parade with her children and two grandchildren. They took shelter in a wine shop and were not hurt. But they fight.

“I’m not happy,” Isaacson said. “I don’t feel like making dinner or doing anything. I just don’t feel like myself. At night when it’s quiet, the thoughts come back.”

She returned to the scene of the shooting Sunday morning, sitting on a bench with a young woman with three young children.

“We both cried,” Isaacson said. “I just can’t get that out of my head. I will never feel like this again. … [The shooter] took our innocent city and made it a statistic.” Her 7-year-old granddaughter does not sleep. The 5-year-old is playing out, she said.

Isaacson said the therapy helped. And she appreciates the way the community has come together to mourn and honor those who risked their lives responding to the shooting. She recently attended a big dinner for first responders. Her grandchildren drew pictures that the fire department promised to put on the wall.

Many who took part in the parade said they felt they had taken a gamble. A second running in a different direction and the outcome could have been tragic. Many describe everyday sounds of misfires, alarms, and loud voices as triggers. Others say they are still in shock and need time to recover.

“It’s trauma with a capital ‘T,'” Mottlowitz said. Irina McCarthy – The Washington Post

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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