An 8-year-old boy is fighting to stay alive after his family survived a gunman opening fire from a rooftop during a 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
Seven people were killed during the mass shooting and 24 others were injured, including 8-year-old Cooper Roberts. According to The Daily Beast, a bullet severed the child's spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed below the waist. His condition was upgraded to "serious" over the weekend, and he was taken off the ventilator.
Roberts's mother, Keely, was shot in the leg and foot during the incident. Since that time she has recovered and now asks that people pray for her son.
The family of four, Cooper with his twin brother, mother, and father were simply enjoying the parade during the American holiday when three quarters of the way through shots started being fired into the crowd.
On July 5, the next day, local authorities apprehend 21-year-old Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo III as a "person of interest" in the shooting. He was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.
Authorities said the suspect used a high-powered rifle to commit the mass shooting from the rooftop of a business.
Chris Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff's Office said more than 100 law enforcement officers were called to the parade scene to locate the shooter. During a press conference, Covelli said it appears that the shooter targeted spectators at random.
Roberts was taken off the ventilator on Sunday and he briefly gained the ability to speak before he became critical again on Tuesday. One of his lungs collapsed and an infection brought on a fever. He was forced to undergo another surgery, his seventh operation since the shooting.
"Cooper’s situation is now critical. He just went into a risky extensive, and lengthy surgery to try to again repair his esophagus," says Anthony Loizzi, a spokesperson for the family, in a Tuesday Facebook post. "His fever is spiking due to an infection, and one of his lungs has partially collapsed. Please, any and all prayers are very much needed today."
Loizzi posted a follow-up a few hours later, sharing that Roberts made it through a five-hour surgery and doctors had located a leak in his esophagus. The spokesperson assured people that the boy is "with us and still fighting."
"Please keep praying. Long road ahead and still very fluid situation, but the little guy made it!"
A GoFundMe for the family raised over $1.5 million as of Thursday.
"It was a true miracle," Roberts school, Zion Elementary School District said in a statement. "The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the many, many people – emergency medics, police, fire department, nurses, and doctors at both hospitals — who did extraordinary things to save Cooper’s life. And to thank from the bottom of their hearts the thousands who have prayed, sent gifts, supported the family in myriad ways, and donated to the Go Fund Me campaign for Cooper’s long-term care."