Jackie Tapia stood outside her lifelong friend Eduardo Uvaldo’s Waukegan home on Wednesday, trying to make sense of the mass shooting at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade that claimed Mr. Uvaldo’s life and those of six others.
For two days, Mr. Uvaldo had remained at Evanston Hospital. Wednesday morning, he died of the gunshot wounds he suffered.
“He was a wonderful father, a wonderful grandfather,” Tapia said. “He was loving, caring and taught his daughters and family to always stay united. He was just a wonderful person.”
Mr. Uvaldo didn’t usually go to places where there would be a big crowd, she said, but the parade was an event he and his family attended every year.
She said he went with Maria Uvaldo, his wife of 50 years, two of their daughters, their spouses and their grandsons.
“The didn’t realize it was gunshots at first, but, as soon as they realized, it was they all started running,” Tapia said. “The son-in-law saw him and tried to protect him, shielding him with his body, but he had already been hit.”
Shot in the back of the head, Mr. Uvaldo had remained on life support until doctors determined there wasn’t anything they could do to save him, she said.
His wife also was wounded, struck with bullet fragments in the head, and their grandson was shot in the arm, but both are doing fine and out of the hospital, Tapia said.
Maria Uvaldo “is devastated at the moment, and there is nothing that can calm her down,” Tapia said. “As for her injuries, they’re minor, so she should recover. She’s just overwhelmed now.”
Mr. Uvaldo’s granddaughter started a GoFundMe page to help the family with funeral expenses and helping his widow.