Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the abdomen by a gunman who opened fire during the 4th of July parade in Highland Park, has returned in a state critical after a period of brief progress this week as his condition continues to fluctuate, his family said on Friday.
In a statement, Cooper’s family said his progress “has been up and down” as the young boy enters his 19th day in hospital. On Thursday, the child walked out for the first time since the tragic Independence Day shooting that killed seven people and injured dozens more.
Cooper’s condition had been briefly downgraded to serious on Thursday, but he became critical again after another CT scan and remains in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Earlier this week, doctors were concerned about fluid in her pelvis, despite showing positive signs in her condition.
“The CT scan showed that the concerning fluid in her pelvis is an abscess,” family spokesman Anthony Loizzi said.“
Cooper also suffered from a spike in fever “intermittently, probably due to this infection”.
But on a more positive note, the family said the 8-year-old was able to consume liquid by mouth for the first time on Thursday because he had orange ice cream.
As the young boy continues to fight for his life, the family asked for continued prayers and expressed gratitude for the ‘outpouring of support’, which included a special care package from the Milwaukee Brewers, his favorite baseball team. .
Last week, doctors were encouraged when, after lengthy, urgent surgery on Wednesday to close the initial tear caused by a bullet in his esophagus, Cooper woke up on Thursday with no signs of a fever or the need for a ventilator. However, as the day progressed, his fever climbed to 104 and a CT scan revealed fluid buildup.
On Monday, however, Loizzi noted that Cooper had shown signs of improvement, including being fever-free for 48 hours and breathing without the aid of a ventilator.
Loizzi also said Cooper, whose spine was severed, was able to sit up with the help of medical professionals – a milestone on a long journey ahead. “[Cooper] sat up, with help, and did a brief first ride in a wheelchair over the weekend; unfortunately, something he will have to get used to,” the Loizzi update read.
“It was very difficult and emotional for him and his family.”
Cooper was attending the July 4 parade with his twin brother, mother and father when a gunman fired more than 70 bullets into the crowd. Cooper was hit in the abdomen and suffered significant injuries, including a severed spinal cord, Loizzi said previously. He is currently paralyzed from the waist down.
“He is in great pain – physically and emotionally – especially as the family has had to share with him the devastating news that he is paralyzed from the waist down,” a statement from Loizzi previously read.
Cooper’s mother, Zion Elementary School District 6 Superintendent Keely Roberts, and twin brother Luke were also shot and injured in the shooting.
His mother was struck in the foot and leg, had multiple surgeries and was released from hospital at her request so she could be with her son, Loizzi said. Cooper’s brother, Luke, was injured by shrapnel and was released from hospital.