Cooper attended the local Fourth of July parade with his twin brother Luke and their parents Jason and Keely Roberts when he was shot.
Trigger warning: This article contains themes of gun violence that some readers may find distressing
An 8-year-old boy who was left paralyzed by the mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in Illinois is recovering. After a month in the pediatric intensive care unit, Cooper Roberts has been moved to a rehabilitation center. The first pictures of him since the tragedy show him reuniting with his beloved family dog George. At least, seven people were killed and 38 people injured in the July 4 parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. The images of the boy bonding with his dog have gone viral. The 8-year-old underwent multiple surgeries at a Chicago hospital following the shooting that left him paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the chest, reported Good Morning America. Cooper attended the local Fourth of July parade with his twin brother Luke and their parents Jason and Keely Roberts when someone opened fire on the crowd.
"The family continues to feel all the prayers being sent their way and are grateful for and humbled by the outpouring of support as they begin to process what will be needed for Cooper when he eventually is able to return home," said the family in a statement. The boy is now continuing his treatment at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. He will undergo "physical and occupational therapy, as well as other rehabilitation and mental health services," said his family, which had only moved to Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, last year. Cooper Roberts has four sisters aged between 18 to 26 and a twin brother. "The fact that Cooper is still here with us today is a miracle," she wrote last month.
The suspected gunman, Robert "Bobby" Crimo III had opened fire from the rooftop of a building with the use of a high-powered rifle. He is believed to have fired more than 70 rounds on those attending the parade, reported the police. Cooper Roberts was one of many to be hit by the onslaught. A bullet pierced Cooper in the back and exited through his chest, doing considerable damage to him. He suffered "significant damage throughout his body, including to his aorta, liver, esophagus, and spinal cord," said Keely Roberts, his Mom in a statement last month.
Keely Roberts, who's a local school superintendent, was also shot in her leg and is seeking ongoing orthopedic treatment. Cooper Roberts' twin brother Luke was also hit by shrapnel but didn't suffer serious injuries. Keely Roberts is worried about the trauma he endured watching the scene unfold. "To hold a tourniquet on his mother's leg … to see his twin brother's lips go gray … to sit covered in our blood as good Samaritans provided the on-the-spot first-aid that kept us both alive… it's too much for anyone, much less an 8-year-old," she wrote. Keely Roberts is still optimistic about the future. "Their lives are so much more and better than this terrible thing than was done to them."
The family has started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the boy's medical bills.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe