HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - An 8-year-old boy who was shot in the chest during the Highland Park Fourth of July parade is no longer using a ventilator and conscious for the first time since the incident, but doctors have confirmed that Cooper Roberts is paralyzed from the waist down, a family spokesperson said.
On Friday, Cooper's medical status was upgraded from critical to serious condition, which is a "very positive development," said family spokesperson Anthony Loizzi.
Doctors do not believe Cooper suffered any brain damage or cognitive impact from the shooting, Loizzi said. However, the 8-year-old remains in a "great deal of pain."
Cooper has been asking to see his twin brother Luke and their dog George.
Cooper is the youngest known victim of the mass shooting.
Cooper's mother, Keely Roberts, is an elementary school superintendent in Zion. She, Cooper and twin brother Luke were all shot while attending the parade.
Keely was seriously injured — struck twice in the leg and foot — but a spokesperson for the family says she will recover. Luke, who was hit by shrapnel, was treated and released from the hospital.
Cooper was shot in the chest and suffered a severed spinal cord, according to Loizzi.
"It's going to be a new normal for him going forward," Loizzi said.
Cooper is baseball fanatic, a fan of the Brewers, and a ballplayer himself.
A fundraising campaign has been launched for the Roberts family to cover Cooper's medical expenses, ongoing treatment and therapy in what is expected to be a long recovery.
"We just ask you to keep the Roberts family and all those impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers," said Loizzi.