Cooper Roberts, 8, was critically injured and remains hospitalized after a gunman opened fire during the Fourth of July parade in downtown Highland Park. | Photo: GoFundMe

The 8-year-old boy who was shot and paralyzed in the Highland Park parade shooting is no longer on a ventilator and took his first ride in a wheelchair over the weekend, his family said.

Cooper Roberts, 8, suffered a gunshot to the abdomen and his spinal cord was severed. He was airlifted to a hospital in Chicago where he remains.

Cooper underwent a procedure early last week which revealed a tear in his esophagus reopened.

Doctors said one of Cooper’s lungs also partially collapsed.

He underwent his seventh surgery to repair the tear in his esophagus last Tuesday, which was successful, according to a family spokesperson.

Cooper woke up on Thursday morning and initial signs were positive. He no longer had a fever and was breathing over the ventilator.

The spokesperson said Cooper’s fever returned later Thursday and a CT scan showed fluid building in his esophagus, lungs and pelvis.

His condition was “very critical” until over the weekend when he began to improve again.

The spokesperson said Cooper is still in the ICU but will hopefully be moved out later this week.

[Suggested Article]  Man arrested for allegedly threatening shooting in Highland Park, prompting SWAT response
A fundraiser was started for the Roberts family after a mother and her two sons were injured during the mass shooting in Highland Park on July 4, 2022. | Photo: GoFundMe

He has been fever-free for 48 hours and is breathing on his own without the ventilator.

He sat up, with assistance, and took a brief first ride in a wheelchair over the weekend.

“Sadly, something he will need to get used to. It was very difficult and emotional for him and his family,” the spokesperson said.

Keely Roberts, who is the superintendent for Zion Elementary School District 6, was attending the Highland Park parade on July 4 with her two twin sons, Cooper and Luke.

Keely and Cooper were both shot when a gunman opened fire during the parade, wounding dozens of people and killing seven.

Over $1.5 million has been raised in a GoFundMe account for the Roberts family.

Keely Roberts was seriously injured but is recovering.

Tony Loizzi, a friend and colleague of Keely Roberts, said Luke is recovering at home with his sisters.

Numerous police departments and SWAT teams respond on July 4, 2022, to the area of Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park following a shooting that left over three dozen people injured and seven people killed. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Keely underwent several surgeries after she suffered gunshot wounds to her leg and foot area. She was later discharged from the hospital.

[Suggested Article]  Residents, pets displaced from home after fire causes heavy damage in Zion

Active and retired superintendents across the state have reached out to the Zion school district to help while the family recovers, Loizzi said.

Loizzi said Keely “works hard day and night” for her school district.

Police previously said that Robert E. Crimo III, 21, of Highwood, was responsible for the July 4 shooting.

He was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.

Many additional charges will be filed against Crimo, Rinehart said.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli said that Crimo pre-planned the attack for several weeks.

Robert E. Crimo III, 21, of Highwood | Provided Photos

Crimo allegedly brought a high-powered rifle to the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

Covelli said that Crimo used a fire escape ladder to access the roof of a building on the parade route.

Crimo then allegedly opened fire on parade-goers, killing seven people and injuring over 45 people. Over 80 rounds were fired from the rifle.

Crimo, who was dressed as a woman, exited the roof, dropped the rifle and escaped with the fleeing crowd, according to Covelli.

[Suggested Article]  4 hospitalized after wrong-way driver causes crash on Route 41 in Highland Park

Crimo walked to his mother’s Highland Park home, which is nearby the parade route, and borrowed her silver 2010 Honda Fit, Covelli said.

Numerous police departments and SWAT teams respond on July 4, 2022, to the area of Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park following a shooting that left over three dozen people injured and seven people killed. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

A person spotted the wanted Honda Fit as it traveled southbound on Route 41 in North Chicago around 6:30 p.m. July 4 as an intense manhunt was underway.

The person called 911 and a North Chicago police officer who was sitting at Route 41 and Buckley Road in North Chicago spotted Crimo drive past in the vehicle, Covelli and Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said.

A short pursuit ensued and it came to an end at Route 41 and Westleigh Road in Lake Forest.

Officers arrested Crimo and located a second rifle in his vehicle. The two rifles along with three other guns seized were legally purchased by Crimo himself.

He remains held in the Lake County Jail after Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered him held without bond.

Crimo is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on July 28.