The family of Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old whose spinal cord was severed in the Highland Park Fourth of July parade mass shooting, says the young boy is now in critical condition due to a partially collapsed lung, and has taken a step backwards in his recovery.
"Cooper is currently is spiking a fever and an elevated heart rate due to a new infection, which is being treated with medication," family spokesman Anthony Loizzi said in a statement Tuesday.
Cooper, who is under a care of doctors at Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago, had previously been upgraded to serious condition, but on Monday underwent a procedure to address damage to his esophagus which revealed tear in Cooper’s esophagus has reopened.
"As a result, he is facing an urgent, complex, and lengthy surgery today to again attempt to repair his torn esophagus," Loizzi's statement from Tuesday continued.
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"This is his seventh surgery and is of particularly high risk given his age and current condition."
Cooper was attending the Fourth of July parade with his twin brother, mother and father when a gunman fired more than 70 rounds into the crowd, killing at least seven people. Cooper was struck in the abdomen and has suffered significant injuries, including a severed spinal cord, Loizzi previously said. He is currently paralyzed from the waist down.
"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," a statement from Loizzi read over the weekend.
Cooper's mother, Zion Elementary School District 6 Superintendent Keely Roberts, and his twin brother Luke, were also struck by gunfire and injured in the shooting.
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. Luke suffered injuries from shrapnel and was released from the hospital.
"The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the many, many people – emergency medics, police, fire department, nurses and doctors at both hospitals -- who did extraordinary things to save Cooper’s life," a weekend statement from the family read.
"It was a true miracle. And to thank from the bottom of their hearts the thousands who have prayed, sent gifts, supported the family in myriad ways and donated to the Go Fund Me campaign for Cooper’s long-term care:"