ATLANTA — Covington Police Department officer Rashad Rivers is expected to soon head home from Grady Hospital after being shot in the head Tuesday night while on the job.
His family said he had surgery Thursday to fix his broken jaw. His brother, Shaquille Rivers, is on his way to Atlanta from Charlotte, to be able to see him. He spoke with 11Alive exclusively Friday morning.
"By the grace of God, he’s still breathing and when I go up there to see him, I’ll just be happy to see his eyes open," Shaquille said. "It’ll just be different now but he’ll still be here."
Shaquille said Rashad has not been able to talk but was able to text him after his surgery, and after getting shot earlier this week.
"He told me, 'That is what (I) signed up for, don’t be upset, don’t feel bad for (me),'" Shaquille read from the text message he received. "You’re emotional that it happened to (him) and (his) response is, ‘That’s what I signed up for,' so I can't be mad.
But instead of anger, 29-year-old Shaquille feels gratitude his brother is still here today.
"I just don't like the fact that something is happening to a very great person," he said.
Covington Police said Rashad responded to a domestic fight call at the OYO Hotel in Covington and was confronted by a man with a gun, who shot him in the head.
That suspect, identified as 23-year-old Treyvorius Stodghill, was then shot and killed by a second officer at the scene.
Shaquille remembers finding out about this when Rashad texted him from the hospital.
“I thought it would just be a normal conversation like we normally do but I knew it was real bad when he told me to let the family know," he recalled.
Shaquille said they’ve grown closer through the years and that he is grateful his connection with his older brother can keep blossoming.
“He’s always been important. It hurts being almost close to losing (him)," he reflected. "That when you started to realize what (our relationship) was and you placed it in your life, it was I was almost gone."
He calls Rashad, who was a former corrections officer and loves serving his community, a true leader and a father of three.
He’s glad Rashad will still be able to hug them goodnight.
"I’m very proud," he said. "I know this is something that he was reaching and striving for his whole career. He’s always been a big brother to me. Anytime I ever needed something, I always followed his lead, always took his advice on what I should do before I fail by doing it on my own."
He will still be able to take that advice. Rashad is expected to go home as early as Friday.
"Everybody came to support," Shaquille added. "We've got cousins sending flowers to the hospital and my mom and my dad, once I get off tonight we're going to jump in the car to Atlanta to see him."