Injured Olive Branch officer transported to Atlanta

A police officer shot in the line of duty was transferred from Memphis to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta Tuesday afternoon.

Officer Mark Ayers flashed a big smile as his fellow officers greeted him outside the Med's emergency room.  Ayers suffered a spinal cord injury after being shot in the line of duty on June 29th. Ayers was being transferred to the Atlanta clinic to begin a rehabilitation program.

Those close to Ayers said he was handling the situation well. "He's going through the range of emotions that you can expect anyone in his condition to go through," said Olive Branch Police Chief Art Heun.

Ayers' partner, Officer Doug Stanek, who also injured during the shooting, returned to work Tuesday.  One of his first assignments was to send Ayers off to rehabilitation in Atlanta.

Ayers was escorted from The Med to the Wilson Air Terminal at the Memphis International Airport, where he boarded an air ambulance for his trip to Atlanta.

"It's most likely that Mark will come home independent from a wheel chair level, be able to go back to work again, and be independent in his home, whether or not he has the ability to walk again," said Dana Kobler of the Shepherd Center.

Before Ayers left, Stanek knelt and grabbed his hand, as if giving him strength.  Then officers helped load him into the plane.

Officers said a website has been launched to help raise funds for Mark Ayers at