A Covington police officer who was shot Monday near a local Walmart is being transferred from Atlanta Medical Center to Grady Memorial Hospital, police said Tuesday afternoon.
And although Officer Matt Cooper remains in serious condition and has a bullet lodged against his carotid artery, there is a positive development.
“Matt had a good night last night,” police said in a Facebook post. “We were just informed that he mouthed the words ‘I love you’ to his wife who has not left his side. The nurse asked him, ‘Did you just tell her I love you?’ And he nodded yes.
“Prayers are working and Matt is fighting hard!”
Cooper, a 34-year-old father of two young children, was shot in the head while responding to a shoplifting call at the Walmart in the 10000 block of Industrial Boulevard shortly before 12:30 p.m. He was flown to AMC in serious condition.
Channel 2 Action News reported that Cooper was hit between his eyes, and the bullet traveled down to his carotid artery, clotting his blood and saving his life.
He hasn’t undergone surgery yet because surgeons are trying to figure out the safest way to remove the bullet, Channel 2 reported.
Stacey Cotton, chief of Covington’s police department, said at a news conference Tuesday that he appreciated the support from the community and other law enforcement agencies.
“Right now,” he said, “our concern is to get Matt well and to bring him home.”
A prayer service was held for Cooper and his family at First Baptist Church of Covington Tuesday night, and over 100 people attended to show their support, Channel 2 reported.
He said Cooper was “seriously, critically injured for doing his job.” Yet, he said, “I don’t think there’s anything else Matt would want to do.”
The man accused of shooting Cooper, 21-year-old Aaron Demonta Fleming, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the GBI said.
MORE: Covington police officer shot near Walmart; 1 person dead
Fleming was exiting the store with a bag when Cooper and other officers arrived, according to the agency.
The American flag is flown at half-staff Monday at the Covington Police Department as Officer Matt Cooper is moved to Grady Memorial Hospital. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
He allegedly tried to steal bandannas from the store and ran across the street behind another shopping center with Cooper in pursuit.
Several shots were fired and Cooper was hit.
Two other people, 11 and 15 years old, were interviewed in connection with the shoplifting before authorities released them to their parents. They were not involved in the shooting, authorities said.