COVINGTON, Ga. (CBS46) Covington Police Officer Matt Cooper has made a recovery that many would say is nothing short of a miracle.
He was shot in the head on September 3, 2018 while responding to a shoplifting call at the Covington Walmart.
Wednesday, at a ceremony to honor the first responders who saved Cooper’s life, he sat down to speak publicly about his progress. Cooper has spent time at Grady Hospital and The Shepherd Center. His wife Kristen said the surgeries are finally over.
“I never thought I’d be a 35-year-old learning how to walk and eat again,” Cooper told a group of reporters.
Cooper said he’s in therapy getting stronger every day.
“It’s a strict regimen, workout therapy for two hours a day,” Cooper said. “I started vision therapy today to work on my vision. I do that 45 minutes a day and I am feeling great,” he added.
He said Kristen has stayed by his side through it all. “She’s so strong and determined, caring, loving athletic and beautiful,” Cooper said, smiling at his wife. He even kept a sense of humor about it all, adding, “She is my rock, or my lighthouse on a windy stormy night at sea.” Cooper smiled as his wife and fellow officers laughed at his jokes and humor.
Cooper said he doesn’t remember much about the day he was shot last September. He said he remembers taking the call and sending two juveniles to the loss prevention department in Walmart before going to assist with another teen who was running away.
“I’m looking to the left. I see him in the woods and that’s it,’’ Cooper said. The teen who shot Cooper in the head, ultimately committed suicide in the woods, leaving Cooper wounded.
Sergeant Allan Seebaran found Cooper lying behind a store.
“That situation on that day didn’t look good when I found him, but to see how he is progressing today and how well he’s doing physically, I know that it’s God,” Seebaran told CBS46’s Hayley Mason.
Cooper is reflective, humble, and grateful to people from all over the state and across the country who have supported him and his family through this.
“I can’t thank you all enough,“ Cooper said. “The way y’all took care of me and my family when I couldn’t, it leaves me speechless. There were some nights in the hospital when we would lay in bed and just cry, trying to figure out why everybody was being so nice to us,” he went on.
Cooper said he has learned to slow down and to never take his family for granted.
He will never forget the first responders and fellow officers who helped keep him alive.
“I am forever indebted to you guys, and on my name and honor I will try to make you all proud,” Cooper said. “I will not let you all down.”
Cooper said after surviving two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a solider, and being shot in the face as a police officer, he knows he has a purpose here. He hopes to be a mentor and to train other officers with the Covington Police.