8-year-old boy paralyzed in Highland Park shooting to undergo another procedure, family says

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

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Monday, July 11, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

The family said the bullet entered his abdomen and not his chest, as originally believed. He is now paralyzed from the waist down.

ZION, Ill. (WLS) -- An 8-year-old boy paralyzed in the Highland Park mass shooting is expected to undergo another procedure Monday to address damage to his esophagus, the family shared Sunday.

Cooper Roberts was shot and suffered a severed spinal cord, among other injuries, after a gunman opened fire on the July 4 parade last Monday. Seven people were killed and more than 30 others were injured.

The young boy 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's twin brother, Luke, as well as his mother, Zion Elementary School District 6 Superintendent Dr. Keely Roberts, were also shot during the attack, family said.

RELATED: Dr. Keely Roberts, Zion school superintendent, twin sons among those shot at Highland Park parade

The family also gave an update, saying the bullet entered Cooper's abdomen and not his chest, as originally believed.

"The bullet entered his upper abdomen, injuring the left lobe of his liver, his esophagus near the stomach, his abdominal aorta and exited through his back injuring his spinal cord," doctors at Highland Park Hospital said.

He required an emergency operation to control the bleeding in his abdomen, doctors added.

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

Friday, his family said Cooper is now conscious and has been removed from a ventilator after not being able to breathe on his own.

"At this point his critical, life-threatening injuries had been addressed and he was stable enough to be transferred to University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital for continued care," doctors said.

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.

Dr. 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.

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

"Cooper continues to fight as hard as he can," the GoFundMe page says.

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

Over $1.192 million has been raised for the family as of Sunday evening.

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 Dr. 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.