8-year-old paralyzed in Highland Park shooting now conscious, asks to see twin and dog

Cooper Roberts upgraded to serious condition, but still in 'great deal of pain,' family says

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ByLiz Nagy via WLS logo
Friday, July 8, 2022
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Cooper Roberts was shot in the chest and his spinal cord was severed. He is now paralyzed from the waist down.

ZION, Ill. (WLS) -- An 8-year-old boy paralyzed in the Highland Park parade shooting has been upgraded from critical to serious condition, a family spokesperson said Friday.

Zion Elementary School District 6 Superintendent Dr. Keely Roberts and her 8-year-old twin sons, Cooper and Luke, were among those shot during Highland Park's Fourth of July parade Monday, a family spokesperson said Thursday.

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Cooper is now paralyzed from the waist down, but his condition has been upgraded to serious after previously being in critical condition, his family said through spokesperson Anthony Loizzi Friday. Anthony called the change "a very positive development."

Cooper is conscious for the first time since the attack and has been removed from a ventilator after not being able to breathe on his own, Anthony said. The 8-year-old has been asking to see his twin brother, Luke, and his dog, George.

"He's undergone several surgeries since Monday, including one last night in which doctors were finally able to close up his belly," said Tony Loizzi, friend of the family and colleague of Keely Roberts.

Luke has been treated for shrapnel wounds to a leg, was released from the hospital and is recuperating at home with his older sisters, who were not at the parade and uninjured.

Friends of the family have started a GoFundMe campaign to support medical needs.

According to the GoFundMe, Cooper was shot in the chest, and his spinal cord was severed. He's at the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital.

After being shot in the chest at the parade, he was airlifted there after being initially treated at another hospital near the incident.

A spokesperson confirmed Thursday evening the boy is paralyzed from the waist down.

A family spokesman said Cooper loves sports, especially baseball, and is a huge Milwaukee Brewers fan.

Roberts was shot twice in the leg and foot. She underwent two surgeries, and, after she learned of Cooper's condition, told doctors to discharge her or said she would walk out on her own.

Over $170,000 had been raised for the family as of Thursday afternoon.

At least 39 people were injured after police said a shooter opened fire on the parade from a rooftop.

The Zion District 6 Board president said active and retired superintendents from throughout the region have offered to help with short-term interim administrative assistance as the district determines the next best steps as Roberts and her family take the time they need to heal.

"For seven years in Zion District 6 and other area school districts for many years prior, Dr. Roberts has done everything she can to support the needs of students and families in our community. Now, she and her family need our help and support," she said in a statement. "Please continue to keep the Roberts Family and all those impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts."

Sun-Times Media contributed to this report.