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Eight-year-old Highland Park victim admitted to hospital with spinal cord cut

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An 8-year-old boy who was shot during the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, remains in hospital in critical condition with his spinal cord severed.

Cooper Roberts is sedated and on a ventilator at a children’s hospital in Chicago, family spokesman Anthony Loizzi said at a news conference on Thursday. The primary school student is one of the youngest victims of the mass shooting that killed seven and injured dozens of others.

“It’s going to be a new normal for him going forward,” Loizzi said, getting emotional at times. “They’re not sure, because of the spinal cord cut, if he’ll be able to walk again in the future.”

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Also injured were Cooper’s mother, Keely, and his twin brother, Luke. Luke Roberts suffered shrapnel injuries, Loizzi said, and is recovering at home after being released from hospital. Keely Roberts, Superintendent of Zion Elementary School District 6, was shot twice in the leg and foot.

She was released from hospital on Wednesday after surgery. She had insisted on being released, Loizzi said, and was focused on her son’s injuries.

“After she had her second surgery and when she received the news that Cooper’s spinal cord had been severed, she told her doctors and nurses to fire her or she would run away alone because she had to be with her son. ,” he said.

The twin boys are the youngest of Keely and Jason Roberts’ six children. The two “loved the parade,” Loizzi said. He didn’t know how the family had been injured or where they stood along the parade route.

A sports enthusiast and the smallest of the twins, Cooper was shot in the chest and taken to a hospital by Life Flight, according to an update Zion Elementary School District 6 shared with community members. He has had several surgeries, Loizzi said, “including one last night in which doctors were finally able to close his body.”

By Thursday, an online fundraiser had received more than $235,000 in donations for the family. Loizzi said the Roberts, who are expected to face significant medical costs, appreciate and rely on each other for the support they have received.

“They’re devastated, but they’re focusing all their energy on Cooper right now,” he said. “It’s been a very emotional time for everyone around them, and if you know Keely, she’s just a fighter. And it sounds like Cooper has that part of her in him because he’s fighting as hard as he can.”

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