Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old shot in Highland Park, is 'still fighting' after critical surgery

Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy who is paralyzed from the waist down after getting shot at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade, is again in critical condition and facing an "urgent, complex, and lengthy" surgery, a family spokesperson said July 12.

By Ashley Killough and Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) -- Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy who is paralyzed from the waist down after getting shot at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade, underwent a critical surgery Tuesday and is "still fighting," a family spokesperson said in an update.

Cooper, who was attending the parade with his family, suffered several significant injuries in the shooting, including a severed spinal cord, spokesperson Anthony Loizzi previously said.

In what had been a positive development, the child was upgraded to serious condition last week and asked to see his twin brother, Luke, and his dog while he was briefly conscious. Cooper was sedated again because of the pain, the spokesperson said.

But a new infection caused the child's fever to spike, elevated his heart rate, and put him back in critical condition, Loizzi said in a Tuesday statement. One of the child's lungs also partially collapsed, Loizzi said.

"Yesterday's esophagram procedure revealed that 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," Loizzi said. It was his seventh surgery, Loizzi said, and of "particularly high risk."

In an update Tuesday evening, the spokesperson said the surgery was complete and doctors were able to find and close the leak.

"This is a good outcome -- Cooper is still fighting! His condition is being closely monitored and the next days will be critical to ensure that he responds positively," Loizzi said.

A verified GoFundMe campaign has been created in support of the family.

Luke also suffered injuries from shrapnel, and was treated and released, Loizzi previously said.

Their mother, Keely Roberts, "was shot in the leg and foot area" and underwent several surgeries but was discharged because she wanted to be by Cooper's side, Loizzi said.

Keely Roberts is the superintendent of Zion Elementary School District 6, a school district in northeastern Illinois. In an update on Sunday, district officials said Cooper was in a great deal of pain "physically and emotionally -- especially as the family had to share with him the devastating news that he is paralyzed from the waist down."

Citing a statement from doctors, the update said that the child's esophagus was wounded in the shooting but that doctors were able to close a hole in the organ.

"The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the many, many people -- emergency medics, police, fire department, nurses, and doctors at both hospitals -- who did extraordinary things to save Cooper's life. It was a true miracle," the district's update said.

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