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Boy paralyzed from waist down after being shot in July 4 massacre

Boy, eight, is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the chest during July 4 parade massacre while his mother was shot in the leg and his brother hit by shrapnel, their family reveals

  • Cooper Roberts paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the chest 
  • He was attending Highland Park July Fourth parade with his brother and parents 
  • He is in a critical but stable condition, but doctors fear he may never walk again 
  • Twin brother Luke hit by shrapnel and mother Keely shot in leg and feet 
  • Mass shooting left seven dead and dozens hurt after Robert Crimo opened fire 

An 8-year-old boy may never walk again after suffering a severed spinal cord from a gunshot wound to the chest in the July 4th Highland Park parade attack in Chicago, a family spokesman said on Thursday.

Cooper Roberts was one of the most gravely wounded among dozens of people who survived gunshots and other injuries in the mass shooting that left seven dead, with his twin brother and mother also wounded.  

He was listed on Thursday in critical but stable condition paralyzed from the waist down while still breathing on a ventilator, a family spokesman said. 

‘It’s going to be a new normal for him moving forward,’ Loizzi said. ‘It sounds (like) he’ll have significant issues moving forward, especially with walking.’ 

Cooper’s twin brother, Luke, was hospitalized with shrapnel wounds in his lower body but was discharged after doctors removed some of the debris, although they were unable to remove it all. 

The boys’ mother, Keely Roberts, suffered gunshot wounds to her legs and feet, the spokesman, Anthony Loizzi, told reporters on a Zoom call.      

The father, Jason Roberts, who attended the parade as well, was unhurt.

Cooper Roberts, 8, may never walk again after suffering a severed spinal cord from a gunshot wound to the chest in the July Fourth Highland Park attack on a Chicago-area parade

The Cooper family posing for a group picture. Bottom left is twin brother Luke, to his right Cooper, father Jason at the back and mother Kelly to the right. The two older sisters have not been named

Twin brother Luke (right) suffered shrapnel wounds in his lower body but was discharged after doctors removed some of the debris, although they were unable to remove it all

He was listed on Thursday in critical but stable condition paralyzed from the waist down while still breathing on a ventilator


Cooper is ‘unbelievably athletic, he loves soccer, riding his bike, baseball,’ his sister said, adding he was ‘so studious and loves to read – a literal bookworm’

Due to the severity of his spinal cord injury, doctors are unsure whether Cooper will ever walk again, according to Loizzi, a colleague of the mother, who is superintendent of a Lake County elementary school district.

Cooper, a normally ‘very active’ child with a passion for baseball and other sports, has remained unconscious and under sedation since he was airlifted to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, Loizzi said.

The mother, who underwent at least two surgeries herself, was so distraught at Cooper’s condition that she insisted on being released on Wednesday, sooner than doctors felt was best until her bleeding was under greater control, in order to be with her son at the children’s hospital, Loizzi said.

Cooper loved the family dog

The boy has undergone several operations, including one on Wednesday night in which surgeons ‘finally closed his belly,’ the spokesman said.

Although not informed about the specifics of Cooper’s prognosis, Loizzi told reporters the boy’s mother and an adult sister spoke about how ‘it will be a new normal for him going forward.’

‘He’s fighting as hard as he can,’ Loizzi said of the boy’s recovery. The family as a whole, including four adult sisters, were ‘devastated but focusing their energy on Cooper,’ he said.

‘It’s been a very emotional time for everyone in their circle,’ he said, adding he did not know whether Luke had yet been apprised of the severity of his twin’s condition.

Loizzi said both Cooper and twin brother Luke ‘loved the parade’ and had attended the event in the past, but he did not know where along the parade route they were when the gunshots were fired.

They are ‘best friends, partners in crime,’ Cooper’s oldest sister said in a statement. 

‘There’s nothing this kid can’t do and no words for the amount of goodness within him,’ it added. 

Friends of the family established a GoFundMe page seeking to help address their medical bills.

The Roberts were not the only family suffering multiple casualties from the bloodshed in Highland Park, Illinois.

Among those killed were Irina McCarthy, 35, and her husband Kevin McCarthy, 37, whose 2-year-old son was found wandering unhurt physically, but alone and orphaned after the attack. 


Two-year-old Aiden McCarthy (pictured) was  left orphaned Monday after his parents were both killed during the Highland Park parade shooting

Dr. David Baum, a long time obstetrician in Highland Park, was attending the parade with his wife and children to watch his two-year-old grandson participate. When the shots rang out and others fled, he ran into the fray to try to help the victims.

In an interview with CNN, Baum described seeing victims with ‘wartime’ and ‘unspeakable’ injuries.

The shooter, Robert Crimo, 21, who was arrested late Monday July 4, used a rifle ‘similar to an AR-15’ to spray more than 70 rounds from atop a commercial building into a crowd that had gathered for the parade in Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 on the Lake Michigan shore, police said. 

Hundreds of mourners gathered at dusk on Tuesday to hold a vigil for those killed in the mass shooting. 

Hundreds of mourners gathered at dusk on Tuesday to hold a vigil for those killed in the Highland Park mass shooting

Dozens of mourners gather for a vigil near Central Avenue and St. Johns Avenue in downtown Highland Park on Tuesday

Community members gather at a memorial site near the parade route the day after a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, on Tuesday

The grieving relatives, friends and neighbors of the victims lit candles, laid down flowers on the floor and wrote tributes on Tuesday evening at a memorial near the parade route where the fatal shooting occurred on July 4th.

Members of the community hugged each other during the vigil, with some breaking down after becoming overcome with emotion following Monday’s shooting.

Others wrote the names of the victims alongside tributes on colorful pieces of cloth that were tied to a railing. 

Seven have so far died and dozens more were injured after 21-year-old shooter Robert Crimo opened fire on the Independence Day parade with an AR-15 style weapon.

On Tuesday evening, Lake County State Attorney Eric Rinehart said Crimo had been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. He said ‘dozens’ more charges would follow, and that he hopes to send Crimo to prison for life.

If you would like to donate to the Roberts family’s Gofundme page, you can do so here 

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