8-year-old shot in Highland Park remains in 'constant pain,' has 'very long road' ahead

Cooper Roberts was partially paralyzed in the 4th of July mass shooting.

August 17, 2022, 10:33 AM

Eight-year-old Cooper Roberts, who was shot and partially paralyzed in the Highland Park, Illinois, mass shooting, still has a "very long and hard road" to recovery ahead of him, and he's feeling "hopeless, sad and angry as the reality of his life is setting in," his family said.

Cooper was enjoying the 4th of July parade with his family when the gunfire broke out. He was shot in the back and the bullet exited his chest. Seven people were killed and Cooper was among dozens injured.

PHOTO: Cooper Roberts is pictured while recovering from injuries sustained in the July 4, 2022, shooting at a parade in Highland Park, Ill.
Cooper Roberts is pictured while recovering from injuries sustained in the July 4, 2022, shooting at a parade in Highland Park, Ill.
Roberts Family
PHOTO: Cooper Roberts, eight-year-old Highland Park shooting victim is seen at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
Cooper Roberts, eight-year-old Highland Park shooting victim is seen at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
Roberts Family

The 8-year-old remains in "constant pain," which his family called "agonizing to see."

"He still has internal damage -- wounds that are slow to heal," Cooper's family said in a statement Tuesday. "He is on a constant IV drip of antibiotics to ward off infection, has swelling that obscures the full internal picture, and suffers stomach pain as his body relearns to process mainly liquid food. He remains on heavy painkillers from which he is being weaned this week."

PHOTO: Cooper Roberts is pictured while recovering from injuries sustained in the July 4, 2022, shooting at a parade in Highland Park, Ill.
Cooper Roberts is pictured while recovering from injuries sustained in the July 4, 2022, shooting at a parade in Highland Park, Ill.
Roberts Family

Cooper, who is on a feeding tube, is now allowed to eat some solid foods, but on Monday "he could only manage a bite or two before feeling too full and nauseous," his family said.

Cooper's emotional recovery is also painful.

PHOTO: Cooper Roberts, eight-year-old Highland Park shooting victim is seen at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
Cooper Roberts, eight-year-old Highland Park shooting victim is seen at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
Roberts Family

The 8-year-old is recognizing "the severity of his limitations as he participates in daily rigorous physical and occupational therapy maneuvering around two ports, a PICC line and three tubes coming out of his body," his family explained.

And due to COVID-19 protocols, Cooper's family visits are limited. The 8-year-old, who has a twin brother and four other siblings, misses his friends, family, home, toys, dog and school, the family said.

PHOTO: Jason and Keely Roberts pose with four of their six children, including their 8-year-old twins, Luke and Cooper.
Jason and Keely Roberts pose with four of their six children, including their 8-year-old twins, Luke and Cooper.
Roberts Family photo

"It is very hard to convince Cooper that he will be happy again," his family said. "We are constantly encouraging and motivating Cooper, seeking the positives and hanging on to hope, but we want people to know the unvarnished reality which is his/our new world."

The suspected Highland Park gunman is in custody and has pleaded not guilty to 117 counts.

PHOTO: A police officer walks down Central Avenue in Highland Park, July 4, 2022, after a shooter fired on the northern suburb's Fourth of July parade.
A police officer walks down Central Avenue in Highland Park, July 4, 2022, after a shooter fired on the northern suburb's Fourth of July parade.
Tribune News Service via Getty Images

ABC News' Katie Kindelan contributed to this report.

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