“We responded to a shoplifting at the Walmart and the officer began a foot chase with one of the suspects, ” said Officer Justin Stott, who is a public information officer for the Covington police department, as reported by Patch.com.
He added: “He made contact with one of the suspects across the street from the store. There was an exchange of gunfire, and both the suspect and the officer were hit.”
The officer, identified as 34-year-old Matt Cooper, was airlifted to the Atlanta Medical Center, he said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that 34-year-old Covington Officer Matt Cooper is in serious condition following the shooting on the afternoon of Sept. 3, according to The Associated Press.
WSB-TV reported that one of the suspects was killed in the gun battle. AP identified the suspect as Aaron Demonta Fleming, 21, and officials said that the gunshot was likely self-inflicted.
Two other suspects are now in police custody, AP reported.
Covington is located about 35 miles southeast of Atlanta.
According to WSB, Cooper is fighting for his life after being shot.
“It’s very heavy on all of our hearts. We’re praying just like we’re going to ask everyone out who’s viewing this, please pray for our officer, please pray for his health and that he can pull through OK,” Capt. Ken Malcom, of the Covington Police Department, told the station.
Other details about the incident were not provided.
The Associated Press contributed to this report