Highland Park shooting victim Cooper Roberts is off painkillers, eating solid food

Highland Park shooting victim Cooper Roberts is off painkillers, eating solid food

Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old Highland Park boy paralyzed in a July 4 mass shooting, has been taken off painkillers and is eating solid foods, his family said Tuesday.

In a weekly update, the Roberts family said that the boy’s spirits are improving as he’s been taken off an IV and rehabilitates from gunshot injuries that badly damaged his internal organs and severed his spinal cord.

The family released the first video of the boy since the shooting, a short clip of him racing his wheelchair in a rehabilitation center hallway.

“Removing all the tubes has been a huge mood booster for Cooper,” the family said in a written statement. The boy is “able to eat some of his favorite foods and start maneuvering his wheelchair better without the tubes getting in his way and causing him pain. You can see his energy coming back as he participates in a wheelchair race down the hallway.”

With the feeding tube gone, Cooper is eating foods he’s craved for the past weeks, including McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Cheetos, Goldfish crackers and Lay’s dill pickle-flavored chips, the family said.

Cooper also reportedly received a visit Tuesday from former Pittsburgh Steelers and Ohio State University linebacker Ryan Shazier, who recovered from a spinal cord injury in 2017. The former Pro Bowl player also founded the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation to provide resources to victims of spinal cord injuries.

“Ryan was transparent, authentic, genuine and gracious in sharing insights with us about his path to recovery,” the Roberts family said in their statement.

Cooper was shot on July 4 at a Highland Park celebration along with dozens of others.

Robert E. Crimo III is accused of killing seven people and hurting many others when he fired a military-style rifle into the crowd from atop a nearby roof. He faces more than 100 charges, including multiple counts of murder.

Cooper’s twin brother, Luke, and his mother, Keely, were also injured that day.

Cooper is rehabilitating at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.

“Even 50 days past his injury, the doctors don’t know what he may get back and what limitations we will live with for his lifetime,” the family statement said.

Friends of the family have raised almost $2 million through GoFundMe.


Cooper Roberts is off pain medicine and eating solid food. His family says this has improved his mood.

Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

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