Things That Matter

Father of 8 Visiting Family From Mexico Took Bullets for Loved Ones in Highland Park Shooting

The shooting that occurred yesterday in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park has left the world reeling from yet another act of senseless violence.

The mass shooting took place at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, and tragically resulted in six deaths and dozens of injuries. The ages of the injured range from eight to 85 years old, while at least five of the dead were adults. No information has yet been given about the sixth person killed in the parade. 

One of the victims was a grandfather visiting his family from Mexico — who took the bullets to save the rest of his family.

Meanwhile, the suspected gunman is Robert E. Crimo III, 22, was taken into custody later that same day. He reportedly planned the shooting in advance, wearing women’s clothing to appear more inconspicuous. Crimo shot the victims from a rooftop, and used a legally obtained gun

While residents of the area are shaken to the core, the families and loved ones of the victims are now left to pick up the pieces. 

One of the victims was 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo, who was visiting his family from Mexico and decided to attend the parade after being in the United States for about a month. As reported by CNN, he was a proud father of eight, and was visiting one of his six children that live in the U.S.

His granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, spoke to Chicago Sun Times about the tragedy, explaining that her grandfather was shot three times from trying to save the rest of his family

She told the outlet, “He was the one who saved all of our lives. It would have gone to me, my boyfriend or my cousins,” describing how he took the bullets for them. 

Her grandfather was allegedly unsure if he wanted to attend the parade or not, and had to use a walker to get there. Visiting Illinois from his hometown of Morelos, Mexico, he had been hit by a car in Highland Park a few years ago, and still suffered from those injuries. 

Attending the parade with several other family members who didn’t want to leave him alone, Toledo says he “was so happy… Happy to be living in the moment” before the tragedy occurred. 

78-year-old Toledo was pronounced dead at the scene, while his son and Xochil’s boyfriend were shot but survived. Their injuries were reportedly “non-life-threatening.”

Talking about the horrifying event, the victim’s granddaughter described, “We were all in shock,” and thought the bullets were “part of the parade.” She said, “We realized our grandfather was hit. We saw blood and everything splattered onto us.”

She continued, “We were crying. We couldn’t believe all that had happened. We couldn’t breathe.”

Toledo’s granddaughter Kimberly Rangel spoke to CBS News about the victim, describing him as someone who loved fishing, walks in the park, and being with his family above all else. 

Rangel said, “I think we’re all feeling pretty numb. We’re all pretty broken inside. You hear about these things on the news all the time, but you don’t expect it to happen so close to home, and especially to your family.”

A GoFundMe has now been created to help the Toledo family’s medical and funeral expenses. As per the page, “what was [supposed] to be a fun family day turned into a horrific nightmare for us all.”

This is a developing story.

Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com