Nicolas Toledo, visiting from Mexico, among the victims of the Highland Park Parade

Surrounded by a dozen family members, Nicolás Toledo, 78, was sitting on his walker Monday to watch the July Fourth parade in Highland Park when the gunfire rang out.

“We all threw ourselves on the ground,” his daughter Josefina Toledo told The Daily Beast. “My dad, as he’s having a hard time walking … he was sitting on his walker and was hit in the back and in the head.”

The father-of-eight, who recently became a great-grandfather, was killed instantly – one of the six people murdered in the massacre perpetrated by a rooftop sniper.

The parade is a family tradition, said Josefina, who explained that after the march, the clan would gather at the family home to continue celebrating the holiday.

“We were all very happily waiting for the parade when suddenly the shots rang out,” she said.

Among the dozens wounded by shots from a high-powered rifle was the boyfriend of one of Josefina’s nieces. He is in the hospital in stable condition but will need surgery to remove the bullet near his lungs.

“There is no longer a safe place,” she said.


Nicolás Toledo with family members.

Courtesy of Josefina Toledo

Her father lived in a small town in the Mexican state of Morelos before moving to the United States with his son in the mid-80s to find work and later returning to his home country to enjoy his golden years.

He returned to Illinois three months ago for an extended visit with his large extended family to Highland Park.

Josefina Toledo told The Beast that her father was happiest when he was boating, fishing and hunting in the small town of Nexpa. Even when he lived in Illinois, his children took him hunting. The family plans to ship his body back to Mexico for burial. Nicolas Toledo, visiting from Mexico, among the victims of the Highland Park Parade


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