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After being shot and having spine severed in Highland Park parade massacre, worries that 8-year-old Cooper Roberts may not walk again

8-year-old Cooper Roberts might not walk again after being shot in Highland Park massacre
8-year-old Cooper Roberts might not walk again after being shot in Highland Park massacre 03:49

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An 8-year-old boy named Cooper Roberts was shot in the chest and critically hurt in the Highland Park July 4th parade massacre.

Three days later, Cooper was still fighting for his life miles to the south at the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital.

Cooper Roberts Roberts Family

Cooper's spinal cord was severed when he was shot.

We have been tracking Cooper's medical updates since he was life-flighted from Highland Park Hospital on Monday. But we held back details earlier this week out of respect to his family – until we were publicly given the green light to share on Thursday.

Cooper Roberts Roberts Family

We are told Cooper had been sedated since Monday.

Roberts family spokesman Anthony Loizzi spoke out via Zoom Thursday. Cooper's mother - Dr. Keely Roberts, the superintendent for Zion Elementary School District 6 – was also shot and wounded.

Cooper's twin brother, Luke, was injured by shrapnel.

Media briefing on Roberts family after Highland Park parade massacre 34:43

Cooper himself has had several surgeries, and we are told he is fighting – sedated and on a ventilator, but still considered critical by staff at Comer.

There are concerns he may not walk again.

Cooper Roberts Roberts Family

"I have not had any direct communications with the doctors. I have talked, obviously, to Keely, and I have talked to his sister Payton, and what they've has relayed to me is that it's going to be a new normal for him going forward," said Loizzi, of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick and Kohn LLP. "They're not sure, due to the severed spinal cord, whether or not he'll be able to walk again."

We are also told doctors couldn't remove all of the shrapnel from Cooper's twin brother Luke's body. But Luke has been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home.

Their mom, Dr. Roberts, was seriously injured - shot twice in the foot and leg area. She has had several surgeries, but the family spokesperson said when she learned her son's spinal cord was severed, she demanded to be released Wednesday so she could be at his side. 

"After she received her second surgery, and then she received news that Cooper's spinal cord had been severed, she told her doctors and nurses that they should either discharge her, or she'd walk out on her own," Loizzi said.

Dr. Roberts may still need more surgeries.

Roberts Family Roberts Family

Dr. Roberts' husband, Jason, was at the parade but was not injured. Cooper and Luke's four adult sisters – Payton, Ella, Grace, and Emily – did not attend the parade.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with expenses. It's help they'll need for months moving forward.

Cooper loves sports and baseball in particular, and is a big Milwaukee Brewers fan, Loizzi said. The twins loved attending the parade.

Cooper Roberts Roberts Family

The Zion Elementary School District board president issued a letter to parents reading in part:

"The District has received many offers of support from superintendents (active and retired) from throughout the region to assist us with short-term interim administrative assistance as we determine the best next steps as Dr. Roberts and her family take the time needed to heal from this devastating event. The Zion Elementary School District 6 Board of Education will have a special meeting early next week. We do not anticipate having additional information to share at that time. Moving forward, we will update our school community when we can.

"For seven years in Zion District 6 and other area school districts for many years prior, Dr. Roberts has done everything she can to support the needs of students and families in our community. Now, she and her family need our help and support. Please continue to keep the Roberts Family and all those impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts."

"They're devastated, but they are focusing all of their energy on Cooper," Loizzi said. "It sounds like Cooper got that part of her in him, because he's fighting as hard as he can."

Cooper Roberts Roberts Family

Again, follow this link for the GoFundMe.

Cooper Roberts Roberts Family
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