NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans man is back in the hospital, months after he was shot while protecting his wife from intruders at their Gentilly home.
The shooting nearly killed him.
“As you know Joe was shot during a home invasion in the end of May,” his wife Leslie Cooper said. “After weeks in ICU and weeks in rehab, we were finally home and progressing well.”
But Joe Cooper’s recovery had a setback over the weekend.
“Unfortunately, this last Saturday, Joe had another stroke and a seizure that landed him back on the ventilator and back in ICU,” Leslie Cooper said.
She says the stroke is related to the gunshot wounds Joe received when two men tried to break into their home in the 4400 block of St. Roch Avenue.
Joe told Leslie to get down and pushed the men out the front door. They shot him multiple times.
“He took one bullet to the right chest, lung, liver and diaphragm,” Cooper said. “He took two in one leg and one in another. These were AK-47 bullets.”
She admits since the shooting, it’s been a difficult path for her family, which includes their son, Doyle.
“We have medical bills. We have appointments. We have rehab. He’s in a wheelchair," Leslie Cooper said, "We’ve had to move because our home is not accessible for me to care for him.”
The New Orleans community has stepped up to help the Cooper family through donations to a Go Fund Me account and a series of blood drives.
The Blood Center received so many units of blood in Joe Cooper’s name, they were able to send some to Texas after the school shooting in Uvalde.
“It’s a testament to the blood donors we have in our community that lives can be saved like Joe Cooper,” Paul Adams and the Blood Center said. “It really does make a difference.”
Police are still looking for Cooper’s assailants.
“I would love to hear from City Hall, really what is your plan,” Leslie Cooper said. “What are you going to do to take back our city because this is unacceptable.
Leslie hopes her husband will be well enough to be released to a rehab center in the next day or two.
This year’s Son of a Beach Blood Drive will be held in honor of Joe Cooper this Saturday at the Rusty Nail and Sidecar Oyster Bar on Constance Street in New Orleans from noon to 6 p.m.