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Highland Park rallied to help toddler after his parents were killed. Now they've raised $2 million.

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/6/2022 Christine Fernando, USA TODAY
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After gunfire rang out during a mass shooting that killed seven people Monday in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, a 2-year-old boy wandered the street, bloody and alone. 

Over the course of the day, strangers found him and mobilized the community of Highland Park to find the boy's family as neighbors shared his photo across social media with pleas to help identify him.

"The North Shore community rallied to help a boy who we knew nothing about," according to a verified GoFundMe page organized for him. "We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family."

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But soon after, they received heartbreaking news: Both his parents had died in the shooting. Aiden McCarthy was orphaned at 2 years old. 

His parents, Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37, were among those who died Monday. The couple got married about five years ago after they met while working together, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing her father, Michael Levberg.

It is unclear if Aiden was injured in the shooting.

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After Aiden was reunited with his grandparents, the child's community was not done — people also organized to raise almost $2 million on GoFundMe by Wednesday morning.

"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 page said. "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."

Back at home with his grandparents on Tuesday, Aiden was still waiting for his mom and dad to come home, his grandfather, Michael Levberg, told the Chicago Tribune. When Levberg picked his grandson up from the police station, the 2-year-old asked him: "Are Mommy and Daddy coming soon?"

"He doesn’t know," Levberg said, according to the Tribune. "He doesn’t realize it." 

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Highland Park rallied to help toddler after his parents were killed. Now they've raised $2 million.

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