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Donations pour in for a toddler orphaned in the Highland Park parade shooting

"We cannot be grateful enough," Irina Colon said of the more than $2.5 million raised for Aiden McCarthy, 2, whose parents were killed.
Image: Irina Colon, center, a distant relative of Irina McCarthy who died in the shooting, launched the fundraiser immediately after the shooting to help support Aiden McCarthy.
Irina Colon, a distant relative of Irina McCarthy, who died in the shooting, launched the fundraiser immediately after the shooting to help support Aiden McCarthy.NBC News

The woman who launched a fundraiser for the 2-year-old boy whose parents were killed in the Illinois parade shooting said Wednesday that she was astonished by the tens of thousands of people who donated more than $2.5 million to the couple’s surviving son in a single day.

Irina Colon thanked the more than 47,000 people who had contributed to the fundraiser, saying their giving was “so generous” and adding, “We cannot be grateful enough.”

Colon, a distant relative of Irina McCarthy, 35, who died in the shooting, launched the fundraiser immediately after the shooting to help support the boy, Aiden McCarthy.

Aiden was found in the chaos of the July Fourth shooting in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. His father, Kevin McCarthy, 37, died protecting Aiden, Irina McCarthy’s father told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“It’s overwhelming,” Irina Colon said. “People are donating not just money. They’re donating everything, like their time, babysitting, wipes, everything. They’re just reaching out, like: ‘What can we do? How can we help?’ I can’t keep up with the messages. I have probably 1,000 messages in my inbox.” 

Colon’s husband, Tony Colon, said the money could perhaps “shed some light on some of that darkness” left by the shooting.

Five other people were killed and dozens more were wounded as a gunman opened fire from a sniper's nest on unsuspecting paradegoers below, authorities have said.

The 21-year-old suspect was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and is likely to face many more for those who were injured.

The suspect confessed to the shooting and had considered a second attack in Wisconsin, authorities said Wednesday.

Irina McCarthy graduated from DePaul University in Chicago in 2009 with a bachelor of science degree; her husband graduated two years later with the same degree. He worked for a gene therapy company and was a "star employee," the firm's chief executive said.

Irina Colon said Irina McCarthy's tight-knit family was devastated.

"Irina was their only daughter," she said. "They love her just beyond measure."

She added: "They're just completely shattered. We all are, but I can't even imagine."