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8-year-old Highland Park shooting victim may not walk again, family says

Eight-year-old Cooper Roberts, who was shot in the chest at the Highland Park parade on July 4, 2022. Roberts family

An eight-year-old boy who was shot in the chest at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill., may never walk again, a family spokesperson said Thursday.

Cooper Roberts was one of dozens injured when a gunman opened fire with a rifle onto the crowd from a nearby rooftop, killing seven people.

Cooper was attending the parade in the Chicago suburb with his parents and twin brother Luke, family friend Anthony Loizzi said in a news conference streamed by ABC 7 Chicago.

Read more: Highland Park gunman contemplated 2nd shooting in Wisconsin, police says

“Cooper was shot in the chest and suffered significant injuries, including a severed spinal cord,” Loizzi said in the conference.

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“He’s currently sedated and on a ventilator, in critical but stable condition.”

Struggling to speak, Loizzi said Cooper has undergone “several surgeries” since the shooting. He said on Wednesday night, doctors were finally able to perform surgery to “close up his belly.”

Loizzi told reporters Cooper’s mother was also shot “in the leg and foot area,” and his brother Luke “suffered injuries from shrapnel.”

Cooper’s mother, Keely Roberts, underwent several surgeries and was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

Cooper Roberts’ mother Keely Roberts and his twin brother Luke, pictured here, were also injured during the mass shooting. GoFundMe

“Quite frankly, she probably should not have been discharged, but she insisted on it so she could be at her son’s side, Cooper, who is at hospital in the city with her husband,” Loizzi said.

Luke has also been discharged from hospital.

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A verified GoFundMe page was established for the Roberts family to help pay for their medical bills and ongoing treatment.

On the page, friends of the Roberts family write that doctors have determined the eight-year-old “will be paralyzed from the waist down.”

Read more: After July 4 shooting, Highland Park residents say might be time to leave U.S.

As of writing, the GoFundMe has garnered more than US$567,000 of it $750,000 goal.

On Tuesday, a 21-year-old suspected gunman was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.

If convicted, the suspect would face a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, Illinois states attorney Eric Reinhard said in announcing the charges at a news conference.

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