Sports fan Cooper Roberts and his 8-year-old twin brother Luke enjoyed a Fourth of July parade in their bucolic Chicago suburb…
Sports enthusiast Cooper Roberts and his 8-year-old twin brother Luke enjoyed a Fourth of July parade in their bucolic Chicago suburb.
But the family now envisions a “new normal” for Cooper, who was wounded in the chest in a hail of gunfire that left dozens injured and seven dead when a gunman opened fire at a Highland Park parade, Tony Loitzi said. a spokesperson for the family during a call with Zoom reporters on Thursday.
Luke and the boys’ mother, Keely Roberts, who is superintendent of the 2,300-student Zion Elementary School District, were also hurt, but less seriously. Only the boys’ father, Jason Roberts, was unharmed.
Cooper has already undergone several surgeries and is on a ventilator at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, his spine is severed and he is in critical condition. He is unconscious and unable to speak to his family, Loitzi said.
“It looks like he’s going to have serious problems going forward,” he explained. The family later confirmed that Cooper was paralyzed from the waist down.
Luke, wounded by shrapnel, is at home. But some fragments remain in his body because removing them would cause too much damage, Loitzi said. The twins are the youngest of six, and their four older sisters – aged 18 to 26 – dote on Luke while Cooper is hospitalized.
Meanwhile, the boy’s mother, who was shot twice in the foot and leg, has undergone two surgeries and may need a third, Loitzi said.
“Honestly, she probably shouldn’t have been discharged,” Loitzi said. But when she found out Cooper was on a ventilator, she “told her doctors and nurses that they either had to get out or she was going to come out on her own because she needed to be with her son,” Loizzi said.
He said the school district where she works has been receiving offers of support from state superintendents, some of whom are retired. He said they want to help her so she can heal and focus on her family.
“They’re devastated,” he said of the family, “but now they’re focusing all their energy on Cooper. It was a very emotional time for everyone in their circle. And if you know Keeley, she’s just a fighter. And Cooper seems to have internalized that part of it because he’s fighting as hard as he can.”
Loica had few details about the shooting itself. He said he did not know where the family was standing along the parade route when the shots rang out or who was helping them.
“Honestly, I haven’t had that conversation with Kiley,” he said. “I tried not to focus on exactly what happened and really focused on what we were doing to help her and her son.”
Loizzi described the boy as having a “passion” for sports and the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Every time I talk to his mom about him, he’s always very active,” he added.
A GoFundMe was set up to help the family with what Loizzi called “the obvious ongoing treatment and therapy that Cooper will need.” He said Keeley Roberts is a dedicated school leader who works tirelessly for her students and often sends emails into the wee hours of the morning.
“Now,” he said, “she and her family need our support.” So we just ask that you continue to keep the Roberts family and all those affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.”
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