One of the six people killed in Monday’s mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade outside Chicago was a 78-year-old grandpa and father of eight, relatives told The Post. 

Elderly parade-goer Nicholas Toledo was at the Highland Park celebration about 25 miles north of Chicago when he was shot and killed by a gunman who opened fire on revelers from a rooftop, according to police and the victim’s relatives. 

“We’re very upset, I’m in shock,” Toledo’s granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, 23, told The Post by phone.  

“It just feels like a dream, a scary dream.” 

Nicholas, a native of Mexico, had planned to attend the parade with about a dozen familiy members but said Monday morning he didn’t want to go because he was using a walker and was concerned about his health, Xochil said. 

“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 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.” 

Nicholas Toledo
Toledo was with over a dozen family members at the parade.

The family was near the parade’s starting point, sitting in chairs they’d left in the location the night before to save their spot, when the gunfire broke out.

“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 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 continued. 

“Our instinct was to run away from the scene. My dad and one of my cousins stayed back, hugging his body.” 

Numerous other relatives were injured in the gunfire, but none of them fatally, Nicholas’ son Alejo Toledo, 51, said by phone. 

Xochil said her grandfather was shot three times but in the process, saved their lives. 

Cop reacts after Highland Park parade shooting
Six people were killed in the Highland Park parade shooting.
AP

“He was our life-saver… I was actually sitting in front of him along with all of my cousins,” said Xochil as she broke down into tears. 

“We were all there together, it was a family of like 10 or 15, and he was the only one who passed away. It could’ve been major, he took three bullets and those bullets could have been aimed at either me or my boyfriend.” 

Nicholas, who lived in Mexico, had been in Highland Park for the past two months visiting after not being able to see family for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This morning, he was actually talking about how happy he was to be around his kids,” said Xochil. 

“He was wonderful, he was a happy man… He loved drawing, he loved coloring books.” 

Toledo was described by his son as a “great father.”

Alejo said his father was a hardworking man who adored his family. 

“He’s a great father, he working hard long time ago here in the United States, and he’s retired,” said Alejo, who didn’t attend the parade. 

“He’s beautiful, we took a fishing trip three weeks ago.” 

At least 24 people were injured, some of them critically, by the shooting and the suspect remains on the loose. 

Cops said he used a ladder to climb to a roof overlooking the parade and opened fire with a “high-powered rifle.” 

Five adults died at the scene and another succumbed to their injuries after being rushed to the hospital, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said. 

At least one child was taken to the hospital in a critical condition, and many other people suffered gunshot wounds to their abdomens and limbs, according to police.



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