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Georgia police officer shot in head in 2018 returns to work

Ofc. Matt Cooper of the Covington Police Department was shot in the head while investigating a shoplifter on Labor Day 2018.
Ofc. Matt Cooper (Covington Police Department photo)

COVINGTON, Ga. (WXIA) — An astonishing journey of recovery for an officer shot in the head in 2018 has finally come to the day where he has returned to work.

The Covington Police Department shared the good news on its Facebook page Monday, saying Officer Matt Cooper was back on the job.

Officer Cooper is back at work! Welcome back Matt! #148strong

Posted by Covington (Ga.) Police Department on Monday, May 18, 2020

The road to get there hasn't been an easy one.

It was Sept. 3, 2018 when Covington Police Officer Matt Cooper and a sergeant were called to a Walmart to respond to a shoplifting call.

Two people were taken into custody in the parking lot and a third ran from the scene.

Police said the officers ran in opposite directions behind a nearby building looking for the suspect. The sergeant heard two gunshots and found Cooper injured.

The Army veteran, who was 34 years old at the time of the shooting, had been shot in the head. He was taken to the Atlanta Medical Center and later transferred to Grady Hospital. Authorities said the suspect took his own life.

Ahead for Cooper, a family man with a wife and two small children, was a long road to recovery.

Since that Labor Day 2018 shooting, Cooper has made several strides along the away, such as mouthing the words "I love you" to his wife while he was in the hospital, being moved to the Shepherd Center to start brain injury rehabilitation, going home just in time for the holidays, and even getting well enough to go for a "run."

He even got the chance to throw the first pitch at a Braves game last September.

And now, the community is celebrating the milestone of his return to work.

"Welcome back 148," the photo post said for Cooper. "Officer Cooper is back at work 5.18.20. WE ARE BLESSED."