Mom of Highland Park shooting victim Cooper Roberts expresses thanks

Keely Roberts makes her first public comments since her 8-year-old son was paralyzed by a gunman’s bullet on July 4.

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A family photo of 8-year-old Cooper Roberts

The mother of 8-year-old Cooper Roberts, who became paralyzed after being shot during the Highland Park Fourth of July parade, released a statement Wednesday thanking those who came to her son’s immediate aid and the doctors who have cared for him.

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The mother of Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy shot and paralyzed in the Highland Park Fourth of July mass shooting, on Wednesday offered her first public statement, thanking the many people who came to her son’s aid.

“I want to thank the people who were there to help us in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy as we were sitting — shocked and scared and bleeding on the sidewalk at a parade in our hometown,” Keely Roberts said in a written statement. “When we were shot, it wasn’t the police or firemen who got to us first, it was community members — an off-duty doctor and nurses, other parade goers — who raced to our sides.”

In an accompanying video, Keely Roberts added that “Cooper would not be alive today if it were not for the act of these people who just risked everything to ensure this little boy lived.”

Cooper continues to be treated at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital where he remains in the pediatric intensive care unit. A bullet entered his abdomen, damaging vital organs and severing his spinal cord, which paralyzed him from the waist down.

The Roberts family was attending the July 4 celebration when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from a nearby rooftop. Seven people were killed and dozens of others were injured.

Robert E. Crimo III, 21, faces murder charges. Authorities say he fired a military-style semi-automatic rifle from above the crowd.

Keely Roberts, who was treated for gunshot wounds to her foot and leg from the shooting, also thanked the doctors who operated on her son, calling them “miracle workers.”

The “extraordinary” lifesaving work “was nothing short of a miracle,” she said in the video.

Cooper’s twin brother, Luke, was also injured at the July 4 event and while he escaped with minor injuries, Keely Roberts said she continues to worry about the lasting memories he has of the tragedy.

“To see his twin brother’s lips go gray, to sit covered in our blood as good Samaritans provided the on-the-spot first aid that kept us both alive: It’s too much for anyone much less an 8-year-old child,” she said.

However, “I continue to be optimistic,” she added. “I continue to believe Cooper is a miracle. I continue to believe that Cooper is going to change the world.”

Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

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