COVINGTON, Ga. - The Covington police officer shot in the head by a shoplifting suspect now has a new team of doctors evaluating his condition and coming up with a treatment plan.
An in a hopefully turn of events, he was able to mouth "I love you" to his wife.
"The nurse asked him, 'did you just tell her I love you?' And he nodded yes," Covington Police shared on their Facebook page.
Monday, a shoplifting suspect shot 34-year-old Officer Matt Cooper when he responded to a call at the Walmart on Industrial Boulevard in Covington.
On Tuesday, Cooper, a six-year veteran of the force, was moved to Grady Memorial Hospital.
According to police officials, Cooper still has a bullet in his carotid artery and faces surgery at some time in the future.
Police say Cooper's wife is at his side. While he is not alert Tuesday afternoon, he was able to tell his wife that he loved her.
The 34-year-old officer is a military veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the father of two young children.
Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton told FOX 5 he was moved by the incredible outpouring of support from people all across the county as Cooper fights for his life.
Cotton described Cooper as a "cop's cop" and an excellent police officer. He said while this shooting has been an incredibly difficult situation, it has also shown him just how much the community cares.
"The community's support and outreach for this police officer and this department show me that the public loves and cares for law enforcement," Cotton said while choking up. "That they know it's a tough job and we're not always treated fairly. A man got up to go to work today. The only thing he he did was go to work – just like each and every one of y'all do – get up and go to work. And he was seriously and critically injured for doing his job."
According to police, Cooper and another officer split up to try to capture 21-year-old Aaron Demonta Fleming, one of three shoplifting suspects. When the officer rounded the corner, he found Cooper lying unconscious with a gunshot wound to the head.
A short time later, police said they found Fleming dead in some nearby woods.
If you want to donate to Cooper and his family, the Covington Police Department has shared a list of ways you can support them in their time of need.