8-year-old boy paralyzed in Highland Park shooting returns home

Cooper Roberts returns home
8-year-old Cooper Roberts, who was paralyzed in the Highland Park Fourth of July shooting, has returned home. Photo credit Roberts family

Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy paralyzed during the July 4 Highland Park mass shooting, is finally back home and adjusting to his “new normal,” his family said Thursday.

“To be able to have Cooper home and our family all reunited together again is such an amazing blessing. He is able to live once again with his twin brother, Luke, and resume being one another’s very best playmates,” the Roberts family said in a statement.

Cooper is finding new sports to play, and has decided to take up wheelchair tennis, his family said.

But Cooper continues to “face a heartbreakingly cruel and unfair road ahead” and has to deal on “a daily basis with the sadness and grief of recognizing all the things he’s lost – all that he used to be able to do at his house, in his community, that he cannot do anymore,” according to his family.

The boy had been rehabilitating at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab after a series of surgeries. A bullet had severed his spinal cord and badly damaged some internal organs. Earlier this month, Cooper’s family said he was experiencing memory loss and was having difficulty with fine motor skills.

Now that he is home, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to best transform what used to be a familiar setting for Cooper into one that can accommodate his new needs, his family said. That may mean finding a new place to live.

“Even our home, which we all have loved, simply cannot work for us anymore with Cooper and a wheelchair and many other needs. It’s yet another thing that keeps us up at night — how will we find, renovate or build a home that can work for our family again? Right now, Cooper is only able to access certain parts of the house — that is not right for him or for our family.”

Still, the family said it was “an amazing blessing” to have Cooper back home. “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.”

Cooper, his twin brother and his mother, Keely, were attending the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park when they were injured during the mass shooting.

Robert E. Crimo III is accused of shooting parade watchers with a military-style rifle from a nearby rooftop that day, killing seven people and injuring many more. He faces multiple counts of murder and many additional charges.

Friends of the Roberts family have raised more than $2 million through GoFundMe and just raised their fundraising goal again by another $250,000. A separate charitable organization has also been set up to receive corporate donations, according to an Aug. 1 post on GoFundMe.

“Please continue to pray for our sweet little boy … we know he will show the entire world that love really does win in the end,” his family said.

Contributing: Brett Chase

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2022. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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