For the Toledo family, going to the July Fourth parade in Highland Park is a family tradition.

The Toledos pack their lawn chairs and coolers and walk to the same spot each year — in front of Uncle Dan’s outdoor store, near the intersection of 2nd Street and Central Avenue.

On Sunday, a gunman began shooting from a rooftop near where the family was watching the parade, killing Nicolás Toledo, 78, and injuring others nearby.

Toledo, who went to the parade with more than 10 other family members, was one of at least six victims who died.

“It’s just horrific,” Toledo’s grandson, David Toledo, said of when his cousin called to tell him. “No one should ever receive that call.”

Nicolás Toledo was a loving father and grandfather, who spent most of the last three decades after immigrating to the United States in Highland Park, David Toledo said.

“He was a funny guy,” David Toledo, 30, said. “Always playful, always cracking jokes and playing with his grandkids. He would always make us laugh.”

He said his grandfather emigrated from Morelos, Mexico, in the 1980s, settling down alongside family members in the Chicago area. Nicolás Toledo loved being outdoors, especially fishing in Fox Lake.

David Toledo, who lives in Chicago, said the last time he saw his grandfather was at a gathering at his aunt’s house in Highland Park. The family watched over him together, sharing responsibilities of taking care of him — but that didn’t stop the jokes and playfulness, David Toledo said.

“I would ask if he needed help. He’s like ‘No, I’m okay. I’m good,’” he said. “And I was like ‘Are you sure? I mean, you’re getting old now.’”

In the coming days, David Toledo said he and his family will focus on coming together, checking in on each other and planning his grandfather’s funeral.

They might also, David Toledo added, go down to Fox Lake to catch fish to fry for a family meal — something his grandfather would’ve liked.

“He did that a lot in Mexico,” he said. “So maybe that’s a good way to remember him.”

Now, a parade that once held fond memories for the family, is tainted by Monday’s events. David Toledo said he’s unsure if they’ll feel safe or comforted by attending future parades.

“This is such a horrible memory, so I don’t know if we’ll go back,” he said.



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