Cooper Roberts, the eight-year-old boy whose spine was severed in the Highland Park Independence Day parade shooting, is in “constant pain” more than six weeks on.
“It is agonising to see,” his family said in a statement updating his condition on Tuesday.
Cooper was paralysed from the waist down after a bullet ripped through his chest in the July 4th shooting, and doctors are still unsure of the full extent of his injuries due to internal swelling.
Cooper is on an IV drip 24-hours a day to ward off infection, and suffers chronic stomach pain as he relearns how to eat solid food.
“It is very hard to convince Cooper that he will be happy again,” the family statement said.
“Of course, we are beyond grateful for his survival, and we know others weren’t as fortunate, but we want people to know his path/our path will be a very long and hard road.
“He’s an eight-year-old boy who feels hopeless, sad, and angry as the reality of his life is setting in.”
Cooper spent a month in intensive care after the shooting before he was released to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital in early August.
He is only able to see his whole family once a week due to Covid restrictions, the statement said, and “desperately misses” his twin brother, Luke.
“He misses his family, his home, his room, his toys, his friends, his dog and his school and everything from – and he’s beginning to ask things like, ‘What will I do at recess?’ though it will be many weeks before he goes back to school,” the family said.
Robert Crimo III, 21, has been charged with killing seven people and injuring more than 40 others after climbing a fire escape onto the roof of a building and randomly firing more than 80 rounds into a packed Fourth of July parade crowd.
He has pleaded not guilty to 117 felony charges including 21 murder counts.
Cooper’s mother Dr Keely Roberts was also wounded and has undergone several surgeries. She was released from hospital three weeks ago but is likely to face “long term medical issues”.
A GoFundme to help pay for Cooper’s medical bills has raised nearly $1.9m.