The first victim of the Highland Park shooting at a 4th of July parade on Monday that killed six people has been identified as a 78-year-old grandfather and father of sight. Nicholas Toledo was one of the parade-goers who was at the Highland Park celebration about 25 miles north of Chicago when gunman Robert "Bobby" Crimo" opened fire, killing him and five others.
Toledo's granddaughter Xochil Toledo told the New York Times how he was shot in his head as he sat in his wheelchair, sending blood splattering on his horrified family. Two other family members of Taldeo were also shot in the mass shooting that left at least 38 injured.
Killed in Front of His Family
Xochil Toledo and other family members said that had not wanted to attend the parade in Highland Park, Illinois, due to his physical limitations as it forced him to use a wheelchair. However, he obliged as his family insisted on him going there.
"We're very upset, I'm in shock," Toledo's granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, 23, told The New York Post by phone. "It just feels like a dream, a scary dream."
"We thought it was part of the parade. Then we realized our grandfather was hit. We saw blood and everything splattered onto us."
Xochil Toledo said that her grandfather was shot three times. She claimed that although two further family members were shot, their wounds weren't life-threatening.
Toledo, a citizen of Mexico with dual citizenship in Mexico and the United States, had recently returned to Highland Park at the urging of his family.
"He was like, 'No, I think I should stay, I'm in a walker, there's going to be a lot of people, I don't think I should go,'" Xochil Toledo recalled.
"My father and [aunt], they were like, 'How could we leave you here by yourself? We'd never do that to you no matter if you're in a wheelchair or walker, we're still going to take you with us,' and then the tragedy happened."
Less than 15 minutes after the parade started, the shooting started. Six victimsâfive adultsâdied at the procession and one more passed away in the hospital.
No Time to React
Family members said that things happened within seconds and they saw people running for cover. This gave them hardly any time to react. They only realized that Toledo was shot when his blood splattered on their bodies.
"When the parade started, I turned around to see [Grandpa's] reaction, and he was so happy to be there, and then all of a sudden. we heard gunshots. We thought it was part of the parade. We didn't know what was going until we could feel blood on us from our grandpa," Xochil Toledo recalled.
"That's when we all started panicking and going to the floor. We all went our separate ways. We all didn't know what to do, how to react, we were in shock, my grandpa's dead body was right behind us," she said.
"Our instinct was to run away from the scene. My dad and one of my cousins stayed back, hugging his body."
Xochil Toledo said that her grandfather in the process saved their lives as his body blocked the gunshots hitting several other family members.
After an hours-long manhunt, police arrested 22-year-old Robert 'Bobby' Crimo III. Photos and videos from the scene show the suspected mass murderer being pushed to the ground face-down by police. He has previously made spooky videos online about shooting massacres.
Cops claim that Crimo started shooting from a rooftop toward a throng, who initially mistook the sound of gunshots for Fourth of July fireworks.
There were 26 injured people in total, ranging in age from eight to 85, and six of them are currently requiring hospital care. Although there is a sizable Jewish community in the region, police have not yet disclosed a potential motive for Monday's massacre.