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Officer 'fighting for his life' after being shot by suspect stealing bandanas, investigators say

The scene of a shooting outside of a Walmart in Covington, Georgia.
The scene of a shooting outside of a Walmart in Covington, Georgia.

Credit: AaronDiamantWSB/Twitter

Credit: AaronDiamantWSB/Twitter

A police officer was shot Monday afternoon at a Walmart in Covington, Georgia.

Police confirmed the incident happened around 1 p.m. as officers responded to a shoplifting call.

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When they arrived, officers said three suspects ran behind the store and started firing at the officer, who was hit at least once, WSB-TV reported

 

Update 6:53 p.m. EDT Sept. 3: Covington police say one of their officers is fighting for his life after being shot by a shoplifting suspect near a Walmart.

Investigators said they were called out to the store along Industrial Boulevard just before 12:30 p.m. Monday for a shoplifting call. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said three men were attempting to steal bandanas.

Officers arrested two suspects but a third, identified as Aaron Fleming, 21, ran.

A Covington police sergeant and Officer Matt Cooper chased Fleming across the street and behind another shopping center.

As the sergeant turned the corner, he said he saw Fleming shoot Cooper and then take off into the woods behind the store.

Police said that sergeant later heard a single gunshot inside the woods, went to investigate and found Fleming dead from a gunshot wound. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the gunshot was likely self-inflicted.

A helicopter flew Cooper to Atlanta Medical Center, where he’s listed in serious condition.

“It’s very heavy on all of our hearts. We’re praying just like we’re going to ask everyone out (there) who’s viewing this, please pray for our officer, please pray for his health and that he can pull through OK,” said Capt. Ken Malcom, of the Covington Police Department.

Malcom told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant this is the first time a police officer has been shot in Covington during his 33 years with the department.

A witness said that Cooper was shot in the head. Malcom would not confirm those details but said Cooper is in stable but serious condition.

Cooper, 34, is a father of two and a military veteran, who has spent six years with the department.

The department says his family is by his side at the hospital.

"This is something we all pray every day will never happen, but here we are," Malcom said.

The GBI is leading the investigation into the shooting.

Original story: The injured officer was flown to Atlanta Medical Center. The officer was shot in the head, authorities confirmed to WSB-TV. Covington Police Capt. Ken Malcom said Monday afternoon that the officer is stable.

One of the suspects was also shot and died in the parking lot.

The other two suspects are in custody.

This is a developing story. Check back with WSBTV.com for updates.