An 8-year-old boy attending the Independence Day parade in Highland Park Monday with his mother, father, and twin brother remains in critical condition after a gunman allegedly fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd, his family said Thursday.
Cooper Roberts was shot in the chest and suffered significant injuries, including a severed spinal cord, family friend Anthony Loizzi said at a news conference.
"He is currently sedated and on a ventilator in critical but stable condition," Loizzi said.
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Cooper was air-lifted from the parade and taken to an area hospital, where he underwent several surgeries, including one Wednesday night in which "doctors were able to close up his belly," Loizzi said.
Cooper's mother, Zion Elementary School District 6 Superintendent Dr. Keely Roberts, and his twin brother Luke, were also struck by gunfire and injured while at the parade.
Dr. Roberts was struck in the foot and leg area, underwent several surgeries and was released from the hospital at her request so she could be by Cooper's side, Loizzi said.
"She told her doctors and nurses that they should either discharge her or she walked out on her own because she needed to be with their son," Loizzi said.
Luke suffered injuries from shrapnel and was released from the hospital.
More than $181,000 has been raised for Cooper to help with medical bills and therapy.
"The little guy is fighting as hard as he can," his family said on a fundraising page. "We are hopeful that he will be ok, but we know his medical bills will be significant as will the therapy that will follow. Please pray that Cooper will recover as best as possible."
Loizzi said of Cooper's condition that "it's going to be a new normal for him going forward," noting that it's not clear whether he will ever walk again.
"It's been a very emotional time for everybody in their circle," Loizzi said. "And, you know, if you know Keely, she's just a fighter. It sounds like Cooper got that part of her. He's fighting as hard as he can."
Seven people were killed and dozens others injured during the massacre at the Highland Park parade. The alleged shooter has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and is currently being held without bond, according to Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart.