Cassie Goldstein, a daughter of one of the seven Highland Park shooting victims, recounted the horrific moment she knew her mother had been fatally shot as a gunman fired into the crowd that had turned out to watch a Fourth of July parade on Monday.
The 22-year-old and her mom, Katherine Goldstein, 64, were watching the floats go by in the small Chicago suburb when they heard what Goldstein thought were fireworks.
“I looked up and I saw the shooter, shooting down at the kids,” Goldstein said in a Tuesday interview with NBC News. She told her mom “it was a shooter and that she had to run,” as the pair began to flee a scene devolving into chaos.
“We were next to each other, and he shot her in the chest, and she fell down,” Goldstein recounted.
“And I knew she was dead. So I just told her that I loved her, but I couldn’t stop, because he was still shooting everyone next to me,” she said, adding that she hid behind a trash can until the shooting stopped and she was able to go back to her mother.
“She was just a good mom,” Goldstein said. “And I got 22 years with her. I got to have 22 years with the best mom in the world.”
Katherine Goldstein was one of dozens of people shot with an assault-style rifle, according to police.
Her husband, Craig Goldstein, told NBC News that his wife was an avid bird-watcher and “the kindest, gentlest person you’d ever meet.” The couple had one other daughter also in her early 20s, Craig Goldstein told The New York Times, noting that his wife had recently lost her own mother.
Five others who died Monday were Irina McCarthy, 35; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; and Stephen Straus, 88. Authorities have yet to identify the seventh victim.
The McCarthys reportedly left behind a 2-year-old, Aiden, who will now be raised by his grandparents.
The suspected shooter, Robert Crimo, 21, was swiftly apprehended and charged with murder; he appeared in court Wednesday.