Calling their loved one's survival a "true miracle," the family of Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy who was paralyzed in the Highland Park Fourth of July parade mass shooting, expressed thankfulness to the emergency personnel who saved the boy's life.
In a statement, Anthony Loizzi, a family spokesperson, said Cooper's family wanted to acknowledge and thank the "many, many people" including medics, police, firefighters, nurses and doctors, who "did extraordinary things to save the young boy's life.
"It was a true miracle," he said.
Cooper was attending the Fourth of July parade with his twin brother, mother and father when a gunman fired dozens of rounds into the crowd, killing at least seven people.
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Cooper was shot in the chest and suffered significant injuries, including a severed spinal cord, Loizzi previously said. As of Sunday evening, he remained in serious condition at Comer Children's Hospital and was scheduled to undergo a procedure to address damage to his esophagus Monday.
The weekend has been especially tough, according to the family spokesperson, as family informed Cooper he was paralyzed.
"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," the statement added.
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 complete statement is below:
"It has been a very tough weekend for the Roberts family tending to their 8-year-old son, Cooper Roberts, who was shot and suffered a severed spinal cord among other injuries at the Highland Park, Illinois Independence Day parade. 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.
The family would like to provide these updates, some of which are new news after more thorough conversations with the heroic doctors and nurses who first cared for Cooper at Highland Park Hospital:
- He is still in serious condition.
- He is scheduled for another procedure tomorrow to address damage to his esophagus.
- The bullet entered his abdomen, not his chest as originally believed.
- From the doctors at Highland Park Hospital:
- “Cooper sustained severe injuries, in a very perilous location. The bullet entered his upper abdomen, injuring the left lobe of his liver, his esophagus near the stomach, his abdominal aorta and exited through his back injuring his spinal cord. He required an emergent operation to control the bleeding in his abdomen. Because the missile entered just below the diaphragm, the muscle that divides the chest and abdomen, the bleeding from the aorta could not be controlled from the abdomen. We had to perform a thoracotomy, opening his chest in order to temporarily clamp his aorta to slow down the bleeding. Because the injury to the aorta was so severe, the injured segment had to be removed and replaced with a synthetic graft in an adult size so he can grow into it. The hole in the esophagus was sewed closed. The complex injury of his liver was also repaired. Because of the severity of his injuries and the massive amount of blood transfusions he required during the surgery, his abdomen was left open with a specialized vacuum dressing. At this point his critical, life-threatening injuries had been addressed and he was stable enough to be transferred to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital for continued care.”
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. 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:"