Boy shot dead in 4th of July parade massacre returns home to his family

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CHICAGO (AP) — Eight-year-old Cooper Roberts is back home after more than two months of treatment for injuries sustained in a shooting during a July 4 parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, it was announced Thursday his family.

Last summer’s attack left seven people dead and dozens injured, including Cooper’s mother, Keely Roberts, and twin brother, Luke, who have since recovered.

Cooper was shot in the back and the bullet passed through his body, severely damaging his aorta, liver, esophagus and spinal cord before exiting through his chest. He was first taken to Highland Park Hospital where he underwent life-saving surgery, then spent inpatient stays at Comer Children’s Hospital and the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago.

“We are at a loss for words to express how filled with gratitude, love and wholeness we now feel as we can finally bring Cooper home,” the family said in a statement. “He’s able to live with his twin brother, Luke, again and be each other’s best playmates.”

Cooper, the youngest of six children who adores his French Bulldog puppy, George, is partially paralyzed and unable to play sports or most playgrounds as he once loved.

“Despite all the love he came back to, there are so many painful reminders of what he lost,” his parents said, adding that “there are no words” to describe the pain of Cooper when he sees his bike he can’t ride anymore or his old soccer jersey.

The family’s home is no longer fully accessible for Cooper, who uses a wheelchair. The family is thinking about how to renovate or build a new house.

“This ‘new normal’ that we are just beginning during this transition home is difficult; really, really hard,” his parents said. But they know “he will show the world that love really wins in the end.”

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Claire Savage is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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