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Family of boy, 8, paralyzed in Highland Park shooting says it’s a ‘miracle’ he survived

Cooper Roberts was shot in the abdomen and sustained a severed spinal cord. He is paralyzed from the waist down, his family said.
8-year-old Cooper Roberts.
Cooper Roberts, 8, was critically wounded in the Fourth of July parade mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill.Courtesy Roberts Family

The family of an 8-year-old boy left paralyzed from the waist down after he was shot in the Fourth of July parade mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, which killed seven people, said it’s a “miracle” he survived.

Cooper Roberts, who severed his spinal cord, is still in severe pain and undergoing medical procedures, but his relatives are grateful he is alive, family spokesperson Anthony Loizzi said in a statement Sunday.

“The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the many, many people — emergency medics, police, fire department, nurses and doctors at both hospitals — who did extraordinary things to save Cooper’s life. It was a true miracle,” the statement said. “And to thank from the bottom of their hearts the thousands who have prayed, sent gifts, supported the family in myriad ways and donated to the Go Fund Me campaign for Cooper’s long-term care.”

Cooper was at the holiday celebration with his twin brother, Luke, and their parents when shots erupted in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb.

Cooper's family initially said he was shot in the chest, but they later clarified that the bullet entered in his abdomen. Cooper, who was in serious condition, was scheduled for another medical procedure Monday to address damage to his esophagus, Loizzi said.

Cooper, a baseball aficionado and Milwaukee Brewers fan, is being treated at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

Doctors who treated him in Highland Park detailed the extent of his injuries in the statement Sunday.

“Cooper sustained severe injuries, in a very perilous location,” the statement said. “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.”

The multiple procedures Cooper underwent in Highland Park stabilized him enough so he could be transferred to the children’s hospital in Chicago, Loizzi said.

Cooper’s mother, Keely Roberts, was also shot, and twin brother Luke sustained shrapnel injuries, Loizzi has said.

Keely Roberts, a superintendent in Zion Elementary School District 6, was shot in a leg and a foot, Loizzi said. She has undergone two operations and was discharged Wednesday so she could be with Cooper.

Luke has been released from the hospital, too, Loizzi said.

Cooper has exhibited strength, a trait he shares with his mother, throughout the ordeal, Loizzi said.

“She’s just a fighter, and it sounds like Cooper got that part of her in him, because he is fighting as hard as he can,” Loizzi said.

Donations are pouring into a GoFundMe campaign created to help cover the family’s medical expenses and Cooper’s treatment. As of Monday morning, $1.2 million of the fundraiser’s goal of $1.5 million, had been raised.

A 21-year-old Illinois man has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in the holiday massacre. Records show that he bought four weapons in 2020, including the AR-15-style weapon used in Monday’s attack, officials said. Dozens of other people were also injured.