Warning: Graphic Content
Cooper Roberts, an 8-year-old survivor of the July 4 Highland Park shooting, is now breathing on his own after being taken off a ventilator and is making "hopeful" progress, according to his family.
The boy was paralyzed after a bullet pierced his upper abdomen during the Independence Day parade shooting north of Chicago that left seven dead and dozens injured, wounding Cooper's liver, esophagus, abdominal aorta and spinal cord, according to a July 10 statement his family members shared from the hospital on their GoFundMe page.
"We have some very hopeful news about Cooper. There has been improvement over the weekend!" a family spokesperson wrote in a July 18 update on the GoFundMe page for Cooper. "Cooper is still in the PICU and considered in critical condition, but the family is hopeful he will be moved out of the PICU later this week. He has been fever-free for 48 hours. He is no longer on the ventilator, and is breathing on his own."
A family spokesperson added that Cooper "sat up, with assistance, and took a brief first ride in a wheelchair over the weekend," which is "sadly, something he will need to get used to."
"It was very difficult and emotional for him and his family," the spokesperson wrote. "The family continues to be very grateful for and humbled by the outpouring of support and well-wishes and asks for continued prayers for Cooper’s healing. Due to the costs associated with the long-term care that Cooper will need, we have increased the goal with the hope of raising additional funds for the Roberts family."
The GoFundMe titled "The Cooper Roberts Family Fundraiser" has exceeded $1.6 million in donations as of Tuesday afternoon.
The 8-year-old had to undergo extensive and invasive surgeries when he was left with "critical, life-threatening injuries" as a result of the shooting.
When Cooper first woke up in the hospital, he reportedly asked about his twin brother Luke, 8, who was hit by shrapnel and injured during the shooting at the parade, according to WMAQ-TV.
Keely Roberts, a Zion Elementary School District 6 superintendent and the twins' mother, was shot twice in her leg and underwent several surgeries, the outlet reported. She has since been released from the hospital.
The deceased victims include Jacki Sundheim, 63; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; Irina McCarthy, 35, and Kevin McCarthy, 37; Katherine Goldstein, 64; Stephen Straus, 88; and Edwardo Uvaldo, 69.
Authorities arrested and charged suspected shooter, Robert Crimo, 22, with seven murder counts, among other charges.