HIGHLAND PARK, IL — The mother of the 8-year-old boy who suffered a severed spine when he was shot at the Highland Park July 4th parade provided an update Wednesday.

Keely Roberts, the superintendent of Zion School District 6, and her two twin sons Cooper and Luke, were among the nearly 50 people wounded in the mass shooting, which left seven people dead.

Cooper was shot in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest and causing significant damage to his aorta, liver, esophagus and spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down, Roberts said, in her first extended public comments since the shooting.

Keely Roberts said her and her son’s lives were saved by people who ran back to the scene of the shooting to help, and by the team at Highland Park Hospital that carried out emergency surgeries to stabilize Cooper’s condition.

“They fixed what could not be fixed in that little boy. It was nothing short of a miracle,” she said. “They refused to give up on Cooper. They were not going to let that little boy die.”

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Roberts was shot in two parts of her leg and has undergone multiple procedures on her foot, which will require ongoing orthopedic treatment, she said.

Luke, who was hit by shrapnel, held a tourniquet over his mother’s bleeding leg, watched his brother’s lips turn gray and sat covered in blood as people provided first-aid to keep his family alive.

“Although Luke wasn’t physically injured the same way that Cooper was, I would argue that his injuries were in a lot of ways also really, really traumatic for him,” Roberts said.

“No 8-year-old boy should ever have to experience being in a situation where they have to stay back with their mother and help their mother get help in a situation such as that,” she continued. “And I think, for Luke, he has been so traumatized by feeling responsible to keep his mother alive in an act of shooting from a sniper on a roof. He’s traumatized by watching front and center what happened to his twin brother. It’s horrible. There’s no other way to say it.”

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Luke, at left, and Cooper Roberts, are 8-year-old twin brothers who were wounded at the mass shooting at the Highland Park July 4 parade. Cooper Roberts was paralyzed from the waist down and remained in an intensive care unit 23 days after the shooting. (Roberts Family)
Many times in the more than three weeks since the shooting, Roberts said, she loses track of what time it is or what day of the week it is, a stark contrast to the way she recalls “living and dying by my Outlook calendar” before the parade.

Cooper, who remains in the pediatric intensive care unit at Comer’s Children Hospital in Chicago, could soon be transferred to Shirley Ryan Ability Lab if his condition continues to progress, Roberts said.

She said that doctors expect Cooper to need another heart surgery in the future, and that when he asks her, “Will I walk again?” and “Will I have to be in a wheelchair forever?” she has to be honest and say they do not know.

Roberts said that she feels shocked, angry and very sad, but does not feel hate. Instead, she said, her family has experienced far more kindness than evil.

“I continue to be optimistic. I continue to believe that Cooper is a miracle. I continue to believe that Cooper is going to change the world,” Roberts said.

“He’s going to teach a whole lot of people that the lesson in this is not that one person did this horrible thing,” she said. “The lesson in this is that thousands of people did great things, kind things, and continue to do kind things. We are so overwhelmed by kindness and that — that — is what the world needs to focus on.”

Expressing deep gratitude to medical professionals and everyone who has stepped in to provide support and prayers for her family, Roberts emphasized that there was nothing unique about the way she responded to adversity.

“I’m heartbroken and I’m sad. But it is a losing question to ask, ‘why?’ There’s no good answer, and that is not productive. And I think moms have some sort of DNA code that when it gets tough, and I mean real tough. Like real, real tough. We find a gear we never knew we had, and we just do it. And I think that’s what this is,” she said.

“I want to be really clear about this: It’s not anything I’m doing. This is what moms do. And I used to think that I couldn’t do it either, whatever it is. That thing you do when the worst thing possible has landed on your doorstep,” she added. “But you can, and you would, because if it was your baby you would do it too. Cooper’s just my baby. Luke is just my baby. If it was yours, you would do it too. And you would cry, and you would be heartsick.”

HIGHLAND PARK, IL — The mother of the 8-year-old boy who suffered a severed spine when he was shot at the Highland Park July 4th parade provided an update Wednesday.

Keely Roberts, the superintendent of Zion School District 6, and her two twin sons Cooper and Luke, were among the nearly 50 people wounded in the mass shooting, which left seven people dead.

Cooper was shot in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest and causing significant damage to his aorta, liver, esophagus and spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down, Roberts said, in her first extended public comments since the shooting.

Keely Roberts said her and her son’s lives were saved by people who ran back to the scene of the shooting to help, and by the team at Highland Park Hospital that carried out emergency surgeries to stabilize Cooper’s condition.

“They fixed what could not be fixed in that little boy. It was nothing short of a miracle,” she said. “They refused to give up on Cooper. They were not going to let that little boy die.”

Find out what’s happening in Highland Parkwith free, real-time updates from Patch.
Your email address
Let’s go!
Roberts was shot in two parts of her leg and has undergone multiple procedures on her foot, which will require ongoing orthopedic treatment, she said.

Luke, who was hit by shrapnel, held a tourniquet over his mother’s bleeding leg, watched his brother’s lips turn gray and sat covered in blood as people provided first-aid to keep his family alive.

“Although Luke wasn’t physically injured the same way that Cooper was, I would argue that his injuries were in a lot of ways also really, really traumatic for him,” Roberts said.

“No 8-year-old boy should ever have to experience being in a situation where they have to stay back with their mother and help their mother get help in a situation such as that,” she continued. “And I think, for Luke, he has been so traumatized by feeling responsible to keep his mother alive in an act of shooting from a sniper on a roof. He’s traumatized by watching front and center what happened to his twin brother. It’s horrible. There’s no other way to say it.”

Luke, at left, and Cooper Roberts, are 8-year-old twin brothers who were wounded at the mass shooting at the Highland Park July 4 parade. Cooper Roberts was paralyzed from the waist down and remained in an intensive care unit 23 days after the shooting. (Roberts Family)
Many times in the more than three weeks since the shooting, Roberts said, she loses track of what time it is or what day of the week it is, a stark contrast to the way she recalls “living and dying by my Outlook calendar” before the parade.

Cooper, who remains in the pediatric intensive care unit at Comer’s Children Hospital in Chicago, could soon be transferred to Shirley Ryan Ability Lab if his condition continues to progress, Roberts said.

She said that doctors expect Cooper to need another heart surgery in the future, and that when he asks her, “Will I walk again?” and “Will I have to be in a wheelchair forever?” she has to be honest and say they do not know.

Roberts said that she feels shocked, angry and very sad, but does not feel hate. Instead, she said, her family has experienced far more kindness than evil.

“I continue to be optimistic. I continue to believe that Cooper is a miracle. I continue to believe that Cooper is going to change the world,” Roberts said.

“He’s going to teach a whole lot of people that the lesson in this is not that one person did this horrible thing,” she said. “The lesson in this is that thousands of people did great things, kind things, and continue to do kind things. We are so overwhelmed by kindness and that — that — is what the world needs to focus on.”

Expressing deep gratitude to medical professionals and everyone who has stepped in to provide support and prayers for her family, Roberts emphasized that there was nothing unique about the way she responded to adversity.

“I’m heartbroken and I’m sad. But it is a losing question to ask, ‘why?’ There’s no good answer, and that is not productive. And I think moms have some sort of DNA code that when it gets tough, and I mean real tough. Like real, real tough. We find a gear we never knew we had, and we just do it. And I think that’s what this is,” she said.

“I want to be really clear about this: It’s not anything I’m doing. This is what moms do. And I used to think that I couldn’t do it either, whatever it is. That thing you do when the worst thing possible has landed on your doorstep,” she added. “But you can, and you would, because if it was your baby you would do it too. Cooper’s just my baby. Luke is just my baby. If it was yours, you would do it too. And you would cry, and you would be heartsick.”
HIGHLAND PARK, IL — The mother of the 8-year-old boy who suffered a severed spine when he was shot at the Highland Park July 4th parade provided an update Wednesday.

Keely Roberts, the superintendent of Zion School District 6, and her two twin sons Cooper and Luke, were among the nearly 50 people wounded in the mass shooting, which left seven people dead.

Cooper was shot in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest and causing significant damage to his aorta, liver, esophagus and spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down, Roberts said, in her first extended public comments since the shooting.

Keely Roberts said her and her son’s lives were saved by people who ran back to the scene of the shooting to help, and by the team at Highland Park Hospital that carried out emergency surgeries to stabilize Cooper’s condition.

“They fixed what could not be fixed in that little boy. It was nothing short of a miracle,” she said. “They refused to give up on Cooper. They were not going to let that little boy die.”

Find out what’s happening in Highland Parkwith free, real-time updates from Patch.
Your email address
Let’s go!
Roberts was shot in two parts of her leg and has undergone multiple procedures on her foot, which will require ongoing orthopedic treatment, she said.

Luke, who was hit by shrapnel, held a tourniquet over his mother’s bleeding leg, watched his brother’s lips turn gray and sat covered in blood as people provided first-aid to keep his family alive.

“Although Luke wasn’t physically injured the same way that Cooper was, I would argue that his injuries were in a lot of ways also really, really traumatic for him,” Roberts said.

“No 8-year-old boy should ever have to experience being in a situation where they have to stay back with their mother and help their mother get help in a situation such as that,” she continued. “And I think, for Luke, he has been so traumatized by feeling responsible to keep his mother alive in an act of shooting from a sniper on a roof. He’s traumatized by watching front and center what happened to his twin brother. It’s horrible. There’s no other way to say it.”

Luke, at left, and Cooper Roberts, are 8-year-old twin brothers who were wounded at the mass shooting at the Highland Park July 4 parade. Cooper Roberts was paralyzed from the waist down and remained in an intensive care unit 23 days after the shooting. (Roberts Family)
Many times in the more than three weeks since the shooting, Roberts said, she loses track of what time it is or what day of the week it is, a stark contrast to the way she recalls “living and dying by my Outlook calendar” before the parade.

Cooper, who remains in the pediatric intensive care unit at Comer’s Children Hospital in Chicago, could soon be transferred to Shirley Ryan Ability Lab if his condition continues to progress, Roberts said.

She said that doctors expect Cooper to need another heart surgery in the future, and that when he asks her, “Will I walk again?” and “Will I have to be in a wheelchair forever?” she has to be honest and say they do not know.

Roberts said that she feels shocked, angry and very sad, but does not feel hate. Instead, she said, her family has experienced far more kindness than evil.

“I continue to be optimistic. I continue to believe that Cooper is a miracle. I continue to believe that Cooper is going to change the world,” Roberts said.

“He’s going to teach a whole lot of people that the lesson in this is not that one person did this horrible thing,” she said. “The lesson in this is that thousands of people did great things, kind things, and continue to do kind things. We are so overwhelmed by kindness and that — that — is what the world needs to focus on.”

Expressing deep gratitude to medical professionals and everyone who has stepped in to provide support and prayers for her family, Roberts emphasized that there was nothing unique about the way she responded to adversity.

“I’m heartbroken and I’m sad. But it is a losing question to ask, ‘why?’ There’s no good answer, and that is not productive. And I think moms have some sort of DNA code that when it gets tough, and I mean real tough. Like real, real tough. We find a gear we never knew we had, and we just do it. And I think that’s what this is,” she said.

“I want to be really clear about this: It’s not anything I’m doing. This is what moms do. And I used to think that I couldn’t do it either, whatever it is. That thing you do when the worst thing possible has landed on your doorstep,” she added. “But you can, and you would, because if it was your baby you would do it too. Cooper’s just my baby. Luke is just my baby. If it was yours, you would do it too. And you would cry, and you would be heartsick.”