8-year-old Highland Park shooting victim moves to rehab

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An 8-year-old boy whose spine was severed in the shooting at a July 4 parade has been moved to a rehabilitation center after spending nearly a month in a pediatric intensive care unit in Chicago.

Cooper Roberts’ family said the boy was transferred to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital on Sunday. The family statement released Monday said Cooper’s medical team will focus on physical and occupational therapy, along with other rehabilitation and mental health services.

Cooper was one of 48 people injured when a gunman opened fire at the Highland Park Independence Day parade. His twin brother, Luke, was hit by shrapnel and his mother was injured in the leg.

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Seven people were killed.

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Since the shooting, Cooper has had at least seven surgeries and is paralyzed from the waist down. In previous statements, his family said that after some of those procedures, he needed time on a ventilator and tube, and that he had a high fever and other complications.

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Every sign of progress has been celebrated in the family’s public updates: Cooper’s first time consuming liquids, first trip outside hospital doors in a wheelchair, trips to the hospital’s playroom, and a reunion with the family’s French bulldog, George.

The news of Cooper’s move to the rehab hospital this week sparked another burst of financial support for the Roberts family. An online fundraiser reported that more than $1.7 million has been raised for Cooper’s care.

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In a statement last week, their mother Keely asked people to continue praying for Cooper and Luke.

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“Their lives are so much more and better than this horrible thing that was done to them,” she said. “Their lives are not a tragedy, they are a triumph.”

Lake Country prosecutors have indicted Robert E. Crimo III on 21 counts of murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, representing the seven killed and dozens injured in the attack.