COVINGTON, Ga. - Covington officers and Newton County deputies walked arm in arm across the turf for the Eastside High football game, in a show of support for law enforcement and injured Officer Matt Cooper.
Hundreds donned blue shirts with the hashtag #CooperStrong for the high school alumnus who also played on the football team.
"Certainly Matt laid his life on the line through military and law enforcement," said Principal Jeff Cher, who formerly coached Cooper years ago on the football team. "If there's anybody that can bounce back, recover, rehabilitate and be back to the old self, Matt Cooper is going to be that person," he said.
The injured officer's vehicle stayed at the football game with emergency lights flashing.
Thirty-four year-old Cooper, a former sniper in the U.S. Army, was shot in the head while responding to a shoplifting call at the local Wal-Mart. Police said the suspect shot and killed himself.
The recovering officer has since started rehabilitation and physical therapy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
Coordinators hoped to encourage officers and those who put their lives on the line to protect and serve.
"Those prayers right now are touching him. That's what's giving him the strength to fight this tough battle," said Lt. Chris Smith.