8-Year-Old Boy Paralyzed in Highland Park Mass Shooting in Critical Condition

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
July 13, 2022US News
8-Year-Old Boy Paralyzed in Highland Park Mass Shooting in Critical Condition
Cooper Roberts. (Georgette Topalis and Annie Loizzi via GoFundMe)

An 8-year-old boy left paralyzed from being shot in the Highland Park mass shooting on July 4 is in critical condition just after a brief recovery.

The boy’s spine was severed when he was shot at the mass shooting, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. After doctors discovered an infection traced to a tear in his esophagus, Cooper Roberts underwent an urgent surgery, according to family spokesperson Anthony Loizzi.

“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, injured his spinal cord,” said doctors at Highland Park Hospital.

In a statement over the weekend, Loizzi said, “He is in a great deal of pain—physically and emotionally—especially as the family had to share with him the devastating news that he is paralyzed from the waist down.”

On Friday, Cooper Roberts was upgraded from critical to serious condition. He had regained consciousness and was removed from a ventilator at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital after having shown improvement on Friday. When he first woke up in the hospital, Roberts asked about his twin brother Luke and his dog.

Luke was hit by shrapnel during the shooting last week and is recovering at home.

On Tuesday afternoon, however, Cooper’s condition was back to critical, said Loizzi. The hole in his esophagus that was initially sewn shut had reopened. He has now developed a new infection and is suffering from a partially collapsed lung, according to his family.

“As a result, he is facing an urgent, complex, and lengthy surgery today to again attempt to repair his torn esophagus. This is his seventh surgery and is of particularly high risk given his age and current condition,” his family said in a written update ahead of the surgery.

An additional written update was released by Tuesday evening: “The doctors were able to find and close the leak. This is a good outcome—Cooper is still fighting! His condition is being closely monitored and the next days will be critical to ensure that he responds positively,” said Loizzi.

Keely Roberts, Cooper’s mother and a Zion Elementary School District 6 Superintendent, has been released from hospital after undergoing several surgeries due to her being shot twice in the leg and foot.

“Quite frankly, she probably should not have been discharged,” remarked Loizzi, but she “told her doctors and nurses that they should either discharge or she’d walk out on her own because she needed to be with her son.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up and so far has raised over $1.4 million to help pay for the family’s medical expenses.

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