An eight-year-old boy who was shot during a shooting in which seven people died woke up from a coma to learn he is ‘paralysed from the waist down’.
Cooper Roberts suffered a severed spinal cord during the Fourth of July attack in the Highland Park, Chicago.
His mother and twin brother were amont the 40 wounded at an Independence Day parade as a gunman on a nearby rooftop fired at the crowd with an assault rifle.
On Friday Cooper regained consciousness and taken off a ventilator, but he is still in a lot of pain.
Doctors don’t believe that he’s suffered any brain damage, but it is unlikely that he will ever walk again.
‘It’s going to be a new normal for him moving forward,’ family spokesman Anthony Loizzi told
‘It sounds (like) he’ll have significant issues moving forward, especially with walking.’
He said the family are ‘focusing their energy on Cooper’, adding: ‘He’s fighting as hard as he can.’
Now that he’s awake, Cooper has been asking to see his dog George, and his twin brother Luke, who was hospitalised with shrapnel wounds.
Luke was discharged after doctors removed some of the debris, but they weren’t able to take it all out.
The boys’ mother, Keely Roberts, suffered gunshot wounds to her legs and feet, while their father, Jason, escaped unhurt.
Keely underwent surgery twice for her injuries and discharged herself sooner than doctors advised as she wanted to be with Cooper at the children’s hospital.
Friends of the family have created a page for medical bills and have so far raised over $1.1million (£914,000).
Cooper has been described as a ‘very active’ child with a passion for baseball, and is a huge fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.
During Friday’s game, the team hung a jersey in their dugout with the name Roberts on the back in tribute.
Shooting suspect Robert Crimo III was arrested late on July 4 after a brief police chase and has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.
Lake County State Attorney Eric Rinehart said ‘dozens’ more charges would follow, and that he hopes to jail him for life.
Investigators say Crimo, of neighbouring Highwood, legally purchased five weapons and planned the attack for weeks.
He climbed onto the roof of a business along the parade route and opening fire, authorities added.
They say he fled the parade by blending in with the fleeing crowd, then drove to the Madison, Wisconsin, area, where he contemplated a second attack.
He returned to the Highland Park area and his car was spotted by police.
Questions remain about whether Crimo should have been able to legally purchase firearms in Illinois.
Illinois State Police officials have defended the approval of his gun license in December 2019, months after police received reports that he had made suicidal and violent threats.
Dale Miller, 70, was walking his dog, Milo, near where the shooting occurred. He said he did not attend the parade this year but lives about 100 yards away and heard the gunshots.
He got many other calls after word spread about the shooting, including one from his daughter, a teacher in Florida.
‘She called me up in tears and said I’ve lost my safe haven,’ he said. ‘Highland Park was always the one place I could go where I was safe and that’s taken away.
‘It’s a very close-knit city and it’s a city that is really hurting right now, but is not even remotely destroyed.’
Do you find OkayWap useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!