HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois — Family says an 8-year-old boy is paralyzed after he was shot in the chest during the Highland Park parade on Monday.
Cooper Roberts was previously in critical condition and on a ventilator at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago campus. A family spokesperson said Friday he was upgraded to serious condition and the ventilator was removed. However, Cooper is now paralyzed from his waist down. The family spokesperson shared that Cooper was conscious Friday and asked for his twin Luke and his dog George.
As of Friday, doctors do not believe he suffered any brain damage or cognitive impact.
Anthony Liozzi, the spokesperson for the Roberts family, says Cooper was at the parade with his parents and twin brother, Luke.
Luke was hit by shrapnel and was treated and released. Cooper's mother, Keely, was shot in the foot and leg. She has had two surgeries and will likely need a third. Liozzi said Keely insisted she be with her son when she woke up from her second surgery.
Cooper has four other sisters and lives in Highland Park. His sister writes he just went to his first Brewers game a few weeks ago, and "couldn't have loved it more." He loves sports and loves football, including the Green Bay Packers.
Liozzi says the family is devastated but leaning on each other. They have a GoFundMe set up for Cooper, who Liozzi says will likely need extensive therapy and treatments going forward. His spine was severed and it's unclear if he will be able to walk.
Dr. Keely Roberts is the superintendent of Zion Elementary District 6.
"She's done things like I'm doing right now for kids in her school that have suffered tragedies, and is a huge advocate for her students," Liozzi said. "After watching her give so much of herself to other people for her whole career, she needs our support now."
The district board president Ruth Davis writes, “(Zion Elementary School District 6 Superintendent) Dr. Keely Roberts and her 8-year-old son, Cooper, were greatly impacted by the tragic events of this past Monday. Both were shot while attending the 4th of July parade in Highland Park. Keely was seriously injured but will recover. However, Cooper was shot in the chest, his spinal cord was severed, and he is currently in critical condition. After being Life Flighted to a hospital in Chicago and after several surgeries, the little guy is fighting as hard as he can. We are hopeful that he will be ok, but we know his medical bills will be significant as will the therapy that will follow. Please pray that Cooper will recover as best as possible. Any help you can provide--thoughts, prayers, or donations, is greatly appreciated.”
Cooper's sister, Payton, writes, "Cooper is the funniest little boy you’ll ever meet! He is silly and creative, and above all else he loves everyone unconditionally and genuinely. Him and Luke are more than twins - they are best friends, partners in crime. Cooper has never met a stranger a day in his life - everyone he meets is his instant best friend (second only to Luke). He is also unbelievably athletic - he loves soccer, riding his bike, baseball (Go Brew Crew - about a week or so ago he went to his first Brewers game and couldn’t have loved it more ) and football (Go Pack Go). He is so studious and loves to read - a literal bookworm. Maybe that’s why he is the funniest, most engaging story teller you’ll ever meet. There’s nothing this kid can’t do and no words for the amount of goodness within."