8-Year-Old's Spinal Cord Severed in Parade Shooting

Cooper Roberts is the youngest known victim of the Highland Park mass shooting
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2022 12:53 AM CDT
Youngest Parade Victim May Never Walk Again
This handout photo provided by The Roberts family shows Cooper Roberts who along with his twin brother and parents attended the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Ill.   (The Roberts Family via AP)

Cooper and Luke Roberts, 8-year-old twins from Highland Park, Illinois, loved attending the Chicago suburb's Independence Day parade and had done so in the past. But this year's July 4 event turned tragic: Both boys and their mother were injured in the mass shooting, and Cooper was paralyzed from the waist down, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The boy's spinal cord was severed and he remains in critical but stable condition, unconscious and on a ventilator, Fox 32 reports. "It's going to be a new normal for him going forward," a family spokesperson says of the boy, who loves sports and was described as "very active."

His brother was hit by shrapnel, and is already back home, but some of the shards had to be left in his body because removing them would cause too much damage, the AP reports. His mother, Keely Roberts, was shot twice in the leg and foot. "Quite frankly, she probably should not have been discharged,” the family rep says. But upon learning one of her two youngest children was on a ventilator, she “told her doctors and nurses that they should either discharge [her] or she’d walk out on her own because she needed to be with her son," the rep says. (Two of the seven people killed in the shooting were a couple who left behind a toddler son.)

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