While 8-year-old Cooper Roberts continues to be in critical condition in a Chicago hospital, he is making “some hopeful progress,” the family said in a statement.
The boy, who is paralyzed from the waist down after being wounded at the Independence Day parade shooting in Highland Park, is in the pediatric intensive care unit but the family says he may be moved out of the PICU later this week as he has been fever-free for 48 hours and is no longer on a ventilator.
Cooper is now breathing on his own, according to the family’s statement Monday morning. He also sat up and took a “brief first ride in a wheelchair over the weekend.”
“Sadly, something he will need to get used to. It was very difficult and emotional for him and his family,” family spokesman Anthony Loizzi said in the statement.
The family added that the fluid in his pelvis remains concerning but medical and surgical teams are working to determine the next steps.
For now, the family continues to be “very grateful for and humbled by the outpouring of support and well-wishes and asks for continued prayers for Cooper’s healing.”
Last week, though his condition after the surgery initially seemed positive. the family reported that Cooper’s fever returned. A CT scan also revealed fluid building in his esophagus, lungs and now around his pelvis.
As a result of the complications, Cooper was put on a ventilator and breathing tube.
“Please keep sending love and prayers to my son as he continues to fight as hard as he can,” his mother, Keely Roberts, said.
Though Cooper had been taken off the ventilator and was conscious for the first time nearly a week after the shooting, doctors told the family that the tear in Cooper’s esophagus reopened and the boy had to undergo an “urgent, complex and lengthy surgery.”
The Roberts family, which also includes Cooper’s twin brother, Luke, shared that the boy’s condition was downgraded as he struggled with a new infection and one of his lungs iwas partially collapsed.
“This is his seventh surgery and is of particularly high risk given his age and current condition,” Loizzi had said.
The family thanked the emergency medics, police, fire department and medical staff that saved Cooper’s life. “It was a true miracle,” they said.
While it was initially believed that the boy had been shot in the chest, doctors at Highland Park Hospital had previously released a statement saying that the bullet entered his abdomen and not his chest.
“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,” Highland Park doctors said in a statement July 10. “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.”
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Keely Roberts, who is superintendent of Zion Elementary School District 6, and her husband, Jason Roberts, attended the Fourth of July parade with their twins, Cooper and Luke.
Keely Roberts was shot in the foot and leg and Luke was wounded in the leg by shrapnel.
[ What we know about the Highland Park mass shooting on the Fourth of July ]
Even after undergoing several surgeries for injuries suffered in the mass shooting herself, Keely Roberts told doctors she needed to be discharged from the hospital she was in so she could be with Cooper, who was at a different one, Loizzi said.
Cooper has been described as a boy who likes to play sports and is a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The twins attend Braeside Elementary School in Highland Park.
[ These are the victims of the Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park ]
A GoFundMe page for the family is collecting donations. Loizzi said that during their difficult times the family has requested privacy and asked for financial support to ensure Cooper receives the proper treatment and therapy.