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Wounded detective returns home

It was a homecoming fit for a hero, dozens of Nye County Sheriff’s Office and other area law enforcement agencies’ marked units provided a procession for Detective Bryan Cooper, who was released from a Las Vegas area hospital on April 15, after being shot during a March 25 investigation in Pahrump.

Cooper was wheeled to a waiting vehicle by a physician as uniformed sheriff’s office personnel stood by on both sides of the exit doors and formally saluted him.

Once en route back to Pahrump, law enforcement officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Henderson Police Department, Nevada Highway Patrol, and North Las Vegas, joined the Nye County Sheriff’s Office to escort Cooper to his home, complete with flashing overheads.

Fitting tribute

The motorcade was roughly 50 vehicles strong as they made their way along Highway 160, as additional law enforcement personnel lined both sides of the highway, saluting Cooper as the procession continued to his residence.

“I’m finally home and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who supported me, gave me calls, and supported my wife and family,” Cooper said after arriving home. “It’s unbelievable the amount of people who came together for me with their support. It’s crazy how big my family gets, to see everybody here. I’ve heard of it and seen it. It’s really overwhelming, all of the support. I thank everybody and love everybody.”

Well wishes

Nye County Sheriff’s Office Captain David Boruchowitz urged area residents to share their thoughts and comments to Cooper via the sheriff’s office Facebook page, while noting the importance of social distancing, amid the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

“We would have liked to have a public fanfare, but due to the current conditions the sheriff felt it was prudent not to have a large gathering of citizens,” he said in part. “We do have our agency and people who are already out and working here to welcome Detective Cooper home so that he knows he is loved. Feel free to comment on social media and we will be sharing all of your well wishes with him and with his family. We just want to welcome him back so he can continue his recovery at home.”

National recognition

Additionally, Cooper’s ordeal was recently aired on the popular Live PD television program on the A&E channel, where the detective provided reaction to his homecoming and recovery before a national audience.

His duties have also been featured on previous episodes of the program.

“I am doing well and every day just gets better and better,” Cooper said. “The support from my fellow employees has been great. Everybody stops by and runs errands for me. They get me coffee or whatever I need, so they are there waiting for me. My wife has always been there with so much support, helping me do everything I need to do here at home. It’s pretty amazing.”

Recounting his trip back to Pahrump, Cooper said he was completely surprised by the gesture.

“I didn’t know it was happening,” he said. “Coming out the doors, I saw all of the officers and deputies, and I got emotional. I’m not going to lie. I just couldn’t believe it. Just the whole thing, where I came out and they saluted me, and gave me the ride home. I didn’t know how many cars were behind us until I got home. Everybody lined the streets with cars. They all kept their distances. They stood in my driveway and I got to see all of my friends, family, the highway patrol and different agencies, including Las Vegas Metro and Boulder City. I was just so shocked. It was an emotional shock.”

Recalling the encounter

Additionally, Cooper said he remembered exactly what happened during the deadly encounter, where the suspect was shot dead by his partner, Detective Logan Gibbs.

“I saw the body cam footage that the sheriff’s office released, and I also saw the body cam footage that Live PD had,” he said. “I remember everything pretty much. It was real fast. He just came out and it was almost like the muzzle was up and the first shot came, went boom and hit me in my vest. There was a second shot in my vest and I went down at that time.”

From the ground, Cooper said the next thing he remembered was actually seeing the suspect standing over him.

“I don’t know if he heard my partner coming, or heard the gravel moving,” he said. “It was like he was looking away, so I had that split second to actually draw my weapon from the ground. I fired a couple of rounds, and the next thing I heard was rapid fire and I thought okay, that’s my partner Gibbs, and he came over to me. This all happened so fast. I just remember asking if the suspect was down. Please tell me he’s not going to shoot me again or shoot us. That was the feeling that I had at the time, which was to make sure the threat was gone.”

At the close of the Live PD segment, analyst Sean “Sticks” Larkin, who is also a police officer from Tulsa, Oklahoma provided Cooper with a poignant message of his own.

“I can tell you this, Detective Cooper, myself, and everybody who is part of the Live PD Nation, and everyone in Pahrump, we are obviously really, really glad that you are here with us tonight, and we look forward to seeing you back at work real soon,” he said.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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