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8-year-old boy paralyzed in Highland Park shooting back in critical condition with collapsed lung

An 8-year-old boy who was paralyzed from the waist down in the Highland Park parade shooting was back in critical condition Tuesday after one of his lungs collapsed.

Cooper Roberts had been upgraded to serious condition late last week. He regained consciousness, spoke with his family and saw the family dog.

The young boy was shot in the abdomen when a gunman opened fire at the Fourth of July parade in the north Chicago suburb, killing seven people and wounding dozens more. Robert Crimo III, 21, was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.

The bullet that struck Cooper did severe damage to his internal organs and severed his spinal cord. In an earlier surgery, doctors sewed shut a hole in Cooper’s esophagus.

“Yesterday’s procedure revealed the tear in Cooper’s esophagus has reopened. As a result, he is facing an urgent, complex, and lengthy surgery today to again attempt to repair his torn esophagus,” a Roberts family friend wrote in a GoFundMe update. “This is his seventh surgery and is of particularly high risk given his age and current condition.”

Cooper’s twin brother, Luke, and his mother, Keely, were also wounded in the shooting. Keely Roberts, a local school superintendent, underwent surgery and then demanded to be by her son’s side. Luke was treated and released before his mother.

Shortly after the shooting, police said the victims ranged in age from 8 to 88, likely making Cooper and Luke the youngest victims of the massacre. An 88-year-old man, Stephen Straus, was one of the seven people killed.

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