Wounded Covington police officer moved to Shepherd Center for rehabilitation

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The officer was with Matt Cooper when they responded to a shoplifting call that ended with shots fired.

Officer Matt Cooper, the Covington police officer wounded in the line of duty, was transferred to the Shepherd Center on Thursday for brain injury rehabilitation.

It has been 10 days of steady progress since Cooper, 34, was shot in the head while responding to a shoplifting call at a Walmart on Labor Day.

“He (was) admitted to Shepherd Center’s Intensive Care Unit for evaluation, care and observation,” hospital official Kerry Ludlam said in a statement. “Soon, he will move into the hospital’s brain injury rehabilitation program, where he will begin therapy under the guidance of a full team of medical and rehabilitation specialists.”

Cooper has been in the hospital since he was shot pursuing a shoplifting suspect from a Walmart on Industrial Boulevard. He was hit between his eyes, and the bullet traveled down to his carotid artery, clotting his blood and saving his life, AJC.com previously reported.


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The officer, an Army veteran and father of two young children, was flown to WellStar Atlanta Medical Center in serious condition and moved to Grady Memorial Hospital the following day.

“Officer Cooper’s family said they are grateful for the excellent care he received while at WellStar Atlanta Medical Center and then at Grady Memorial Hospital, which referred the injured officer to Shepherd Center for rehabilitation,” Ludlam said.

They are appreciative for the outpouring of support but have requested privacy at this time, she said.

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A benefit run for Officer Cooper, who was shot in the line of duty, was held Saturday.

In updates posted to Facebook, Covington police have tracked Cooper’s recovery, calling his progress slow but impressive. At one point, he mouthed “I love you” to his wife, Kristen. He continues communicating by the squeeze of a hand and recently waved at his nurse as she left the room.


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Cooper underwent surgery last week to relieve pressure on his brain.

He spent several days off a respirator, then was placed back on the machine as a precaution, police said Wednesday.

RELATED: Wounded Covington officer's progress is 'impressive,' police say

Since Cooper was wounded, many local fundraising campaigns have been launched to support his family. A GoFundMe page has been set up with a goal of raising $40,000 for Cooper and his family. As of Thursday, donors had given more than $19,000 toward that goal.