8-year-old paralyzed in 4th of July parade shooting finally returns home

Three months after he was shot in the Highland Park Parade Massacre, 8-year-old Cooper Roberts is back home.

On July 4, Cooper was with his family when a gunman opened fire on a celebrating crowd in Highland Park, Illinois, and struck him in the abdomen. Seven people died in the shooting and 48 others were injured.

As a result of his gunshot wound, Cooper suffered broken vertebrae, a severe spinal cord injury, and became paralyzed.

Cooper on his first day back home with his family.
Cooper on his first day back home with his family.Jason et Keely Roberts

After a life-saving operation and hospitalizations that separated him from his father, mother, twin brother and four sisters, he has returned home, his family announced on September 22.

“We are at a loss for words to express how filled with gratitude, love and wholeness we feel as we can finally bring Cooper home,” said Cooper’s parents, Jason and Keely Roberts, in a press release. “He is able to live with his twin brother, Luke, again and become each other’s best playmates. ”

Jason and Keely Roberts went on to describe the “heartbreaking, cruel and unjust path ahead” for their son.

“The transition to meeting Cooper’s extensive medical needs at home rather than in the hospital or rehab clinic is a massive learning curve for all of us,” they explained. “And, now that he’s home, Cooper has to deal daily with the sadness and grief of acknowledging all the things he lost – all the things he was able to do at home, in his community, that he can’t do more.

Now paralyzed from the waist down, Cooper’s parents say the playgrounds, sports and a bike he once enjoyed are no longer accessible to him in the same way.

“Even a large part of his own house that he cannot access,” their statement explained. “Despite all the love he returned to, there are so many painful reminders of what he lost. We don’t know of any words that adequately describe the level of pain you or Cooper feel when he sees his bike he can no longer ride or his old football shirt…heartbreaking, agonizing, desperate – he doesn’t there just isn’t a painful enough description.

Now the Roberts say Cooper will endure the journey of accepting a new normal on the road ahead.

A little boy in a wheelchair swings a yellow racket on a tennis court at sunset.
Cooper’s family say the little boy is still athletic and has already decided to take up wheelchair tennis.Courtesy of Jason and Keely Roberts

“It is filled with many new challenges and continued grief for what we have lost,” their statement said. “There’s a lot of trying to figure out how to pick up the broken pieces of a life we ​​knew and put them back together, but without the instructions. Even our home, which we all loved, just can’t work for us anymore with Cooper and a wheelchair and many other needs.

Yet despite the new ground, the Roberts pointed out that their son’s drive and spirit continue to accelerate it.

“From the very beginning, Cooper inspired us. He is brave and kind. It’s tough as nails but incredibly tender. He cares more about the welfare of others than his own. He loves the world…and it is because of the love and prayers that you all have sent and continue to send to him that we believe he continues on the path to recovery. Please keep praying for our adorable baby boy…we know he will show the world that love really does win in the end.

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