Dear Editor, It’s been over a month now since I received the phone call that no mother ever wants to receive. An employee at the Suites at Station Exchange called and told me that my son had just been shot. I was in Pooler picking up my daughter from her voice lesson, and I had to pull over to try to calm myself- especially when she handed Cooper the phone and I heard him yelling “Mom, they shot me”! Within two minutes, Officers Christian, Akers, Sakelarios and Saia from the Richmond Hill PD arrived, and Cooper received first aid until Bryan County EMS came to stabilize him.
Shortly afterwards, the Lifestar helicopter landed in the field next to The Suites, and transported him to Memorial for treatment and emergency surgery. Also during this time, multiple law-enforcement agencies had been alerted and were actively pursuing the four men in the stolen car involved in the assault. By the time Cooper was out of surgery a little after 9 p.m. that evening, all of them had been arrested. He was discharged from the hospital five days later.
On behalf of my husband Matt and our family, I would like to express our extreme gratitude to everyone from The Suites at Station Exchange, the Richmond Hill Police Department (particularly the officers mentioned above, as well as Detectives Sahlberg and Welch and Police Chief Reynolds), Bryan County EMS, SSFD volunteers, The Lifestar crew, Officer Kyle Suddath , the staff at Memorial, South State Bank, Father Joseph Smith and the parishioners at St. Anne Catholic Church, and everyone from the community that showed their love for Cooper and our family in so many ways that afternoon and in the days that followed.
We are also very thankful to all the law-enforcement agencies (and especially to Eagle 1) that worked tirelessly to apprehend the suspects within hours of the attempted robbery and shooting. Despite the fact that this was very traumatizing for Cooper and all the people that love him, the kindness of the people that live and work in this community has been simply amazing.
In closing, we wish to express our sincere appreciation to all our wonderful family, friends and neighbors in Richmond Hill and the greater Savannah area for all your prayers, love and support. Cooper is getting back to his normal state of health and should be returning to work soon. His co-workers and the residents at The Suites have missed him and will be happy to see him soon. God bless you all.
The Suddath Family
Matt, Mary, Cooper and Hanna