‘New normal’ for 8-year-old twin wounded in 4th of July shooting

Sports-loving Cooper Roberts and his twin brother, Luke, loved the Fourth of July parade in their bucolic Chicago suburb.

But now the family is envisioning a “new normal” for Cooper, who was hit in the chest by a hail of gunfire that left dozens injured and seven dead when a gunman opened fire at the parade in Highland Park, Tony Loizzi said. a spokesman for the family, during a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday.

Luke and the boy’s mother, Keely Roberts, superintendent of the 2,300-student Zion Elementary School District, were also injured, but not as seriously. Only the boy’s 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 amputated and his condition critical. He is unconscious and cannot speak to his family, Loizzi said.

“It looks like he’s going to have significant trouble moving forward, especially walking,” he explained.

Luke, who was hit by shrapnel, is home. But some of the fragments remain in his body because removing them would cause too much damage, Loizzi said. The twins are the youngest of six siblings, and their four older sisters, ages 18 to 26, adore Luke while Cooper is hospitalized.

Meanwhile, the boy’s mother, who was shot twice in the foot and leg area, has had two surgeries and may need a third, Loizzi said.

“Frankly, she probably shouldn’t have been released,” Loizzi said. But when she found out that Cooper was on a ventilator, “she told her doctors and nurses that she had to discharge her or she would go on her own because she needed to be with her child,” Loizzi said. .

He said the school district where he works is getting offers of support from superintendents across the state, some of them retired. She said they want to help so she can heal and focus on her family.

“They’re devastated,” she said of the family, “but right now they’re focusing all of their energy on Cooper. It’s been a very emotional time for everyone in her circle. And if you know Keely, she’s just a fighter. And it seems like Cooper got that part of her in him because he’s fighting as hard as he can.”

Loizzi had few details about the shooting itself. He said he didn’t know where the family was along the parade route when the shots rang out or who helped them.

“To be honest, I haven’t had that conversation with Keely,” he said. “I’ve tried not to focus on what exactly happened, and really kept the focus on what we’re doing to help her and her child.”

Loizzi described the boy as having a “passion” for sports and the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Whenever I talk to his mom about him, he’s always very active,” she added.

A GoFundMe was set up to help the family with what Loizzi described as “the obvious ongoing treatment and therapy that Cooper will need.” She said Keely Roberts is a dedicated school leader, working tirelessly for her students, often sending emails in 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 everyone affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.”

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