(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) — An 8-year-old boy left paralyzed in the mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, plans to return to school in the fall with his twin brother.
The family of Cooper Roberts shared in an update Tuesday that the boy is expected to start third grade at Braeside Elementary School in Highland Park with his brother, Luke, in six to 12 weeks.
Cooper is currently in daily physical and occupational therapy at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.
“This is a huge motivation for Cooper as he is excited to return to the classroom and see his friends,” a spokesperson for the Roberts family said in a statement. “He will likely return to classes for half-days and continue to participate in long-term outpatient physical and occupational therapy at AbiiltyLab for the part of the day.”
Cooper was attending his town’s Fourth of July parade with Luke and their parents Jason and Keely Roberts when the shooting occurred. The suspected gunman, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, allegedly climbed onto the roof of a business and used a high-powered rifle to unleash more than 70 rounds on marchers and revelers, according to police.
The attack left seven people dead and at least 38 people injured.
During the shooting, a bullet went into Cooper’s back and exited through his chest, “which did significant damage throughout his body, including to his aorta, liver, esophagus and spinal cord,” Keely Roberts said in a statement last month.
Keely Roberts, a local school superintendent, was shot in two parts of her leg and needs ongoing orthopedic treatment.
Cooper’s twin, Luke, was hit by shrapnel. The family said the twin brothers are receiving mental health support in the wake of the shooting.
“Both Cooper and Luke are participating in private counseling and other mental health services to support their healing from the emotional and psychological trauma of the shooting,” the spokesperson said. “Cooper is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, including flashbacks that are disrupting his sleep.”
Cooper is also still receiving medical care at University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where doctors are continuing to monitor his healing from his multiple surgeries.
A GoFundMe created for the Roberts family has raised nearly $2 million.
According to the spokesperson, the family is currently planning for how to care for Cooper once he returns home.
“They must explore options for long-term housing for their large family as the Roberts’ 100-year-old home in Highland Park cannot be reconfigured to accommodate his rehabilitation needs for home-based therapies,” the spokesperson said, adding the family is “grateful for and humbled by the outpouring of prayers and support” they have received. “They also need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to support their ability to transport Cooper daily once released from inpatient care.”
The Roberts family, which also includes four daughters ages 18 to 26, moved to Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, last year from a nearby town.
Earlier this month, the Roberts family shared the first photos of Cooper since the parade attack.
The photos showed him reuniting with their beloved family dog, George.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.