8-year-old boy paralyzed in Highland Park parade shooting finally home
▶ Watch Video: Cooper Roberts, boy paralyzed in parade shooting, returns home
After spending more than two months in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, Cooper Roberts is finally home. The 8-year-old was wounded in the Highland Park parade shooting on July 4 that killed seven people.
“We are at a total loss of words to express how filled with gratitude, love and wholeness we now feel given that we are able to finally have Cooper back at home,” his family wrote on a GoFundMe page Thursday. “There was a time, not all that long ago, where we were desperately and feverishly praying just for Cooper to live. To be able to have Cooper home and our family all reunited together again is such an amazing blessing.”
Cooper was reunited with his twin brother, Luke, four other siblings, and French bulldog, George.
“Having our children reunited as a sibling unit and knowing that they can be together whenever they need or want to, is so special to us and to Cooper,” his family wrote Thursday. “They have held each other up and through so much during what has been the most horrific time in their lives. They have seen, in a way they never had before, just how much they enrich each other’s lives and how deep their love for one another truly is.”
His family said now that he is home, Cooper is realizing all of the things he can’t do because of his paralysis, such as play on playgrounds and ride his bike. But, he has taken up some new hobbies, including wheelchair tennis.
As for his parents, they said it’s been “really, really hard” adjusting to their “new normal” — which includes having a child with “extensive medical needs.” They are weighing whether to renovate their home, or move to a new one that’s more wheelchair accessible.
But, they are also trying to focus on the positives.
“Cooper is alive and home and our sweet and lovely athletic little boy has made up his mind that he is going to figure out new ways to play sports,” they wrote Thursday.
Seven people were killed and dozens more wounded in the July attack. The suspect in the attack has since been charged with more than 100 felony counts, including murder and attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty in August, despite previously admitting to the attack, according to police.
As for Cooper, he was shot in the back and the bullet exited through his chest. The bullet “did significant damage throughout his body, including to his aorta, liver, esophagus, and spinal cord,” his mother, Keely Roberts, wrote on the GoFundMe page in late July. He was initially placed on a ventilator. Then, as his condition improved, he was moved from the hospital to a rehab facility in early August.
Keely was also shot. She said she suffered bullet wounds to two parts of her leg, and had multiple surgeries on her foot.
Cooper’s brother, Luke, suffered only minor physical injuries – but the emotional trauma was devastating on its own, Keely said.
In a post last month, the Roberts family said both Cooper and Luke were in private counseling and mental health services. Cooper was suffering from flashbacks that disrupt his sleep and other post-traumatic stress symptoms.
“There are layers upon layers of cruelty with being shot by a sniper,” Cooper’s family wrote. “Most people don’t witness the grueling aftermath of surviving these devastating wounds, physical and emotional. We are constantly encouraging and motivating Cooper, seeking the positives and hanging on to hope, but we want people to know the unvarnished reality which is his/our new world.”