UPDATE: Killer Identified… FBI confirms that the man responsible in the death of Tupelo cop was the man killed in Arizona

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BREAKING: Mario Edward Garnett, age 40 named as killer of Tupelo officer 

TUPELO – The FBI confirmed today that the man, sought in the cop-killer murder of a Tupelo Police Officer, was himself killed by a detective in Phoenix. The information was delivered by FBI Special Agent Daniel McMullen of the Jackson Office. He said that there were similarities between the three robberies — including the clothing worn by the suspect, the object used to prop open the door, what the suspect said during the robberies and the robber’s overall MO. Furthermore, the FBI obtained a court order to review the suspect’s cell phone records, revealing that the cell phone was in Atlanta, Tupelo and Phoenix during each of the robberies.

FBI Special Agent Daniel McMullen

FBI Special Agent Daniel McMullen

“This investigation is not over,” said Agent McMullen. The FBI has not yet identified the man believed to be involved in all three incidents. “The robber, unsuccessful in his robbery attempt, made the same demand from a


customer at an ATM machine located in the vestibule of the bank,” Emmett said in an emailed statement. “After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money from the customer, the robber departed the bank without further incident.” Investigators believe that same suspect then drove in a grey sedan to Tupelo, where he shot two officers during a bank robbery Monday afternoon. Kevin “Gale” Stauffer, 38, was killed and Joseph Maher, 26, was critically injured.   .  

bank robber in atlanta before killing cop in tupelo

The Atlanta bank being robbed by the man who later killed Tupelo cop, and was subsequently killed in Phoenix at the scene of yet another bank robbery.

The suspect was described as a male wearing a black ski mask, a grey and white long-sleeve shirt with an “Aztec” print, black gloves, and light or grey tennis shoes, possibly Chuck Taylor Converse style, the FBI said. He was armed with a black semi-automatic handgun, possibly a Sig Sauer .45 caliber. On Saturday around 10 a.m., a man matching the suspect’s description entered a Phoenix bank, displayed a handgun and then filled a bag with cash from the vault, the FBI said. “The robber encountered a Phoenix police detective outside the bank and shots were fired,” the FBI said in an emailed statement. “The bank robber was shot and killed in the exchange.” .  

Beth and Gale Stauffer with their two children in 2012

Beth and Gale Stauffer with their two children in 2012

Also speaking at the news conference was the wife of slain Tupelo police Sgt. Gale Stauffer.  “Thank you from the bottom of our heart for shining your light in this time of darkness,” said Beth Stauffer. She also asked people to continue remembering Officer Joseph Maher and his family. Maher was wounded in Monday’s shooting on South Gloster Street south of Crosstown. He is recovering at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo and is out of intensive care. . . . . . .

Lee County Sheriff Jim H. Johnson

Lee County Sheriff Jim H. Johnson

A special Facebook was set up in memory of Sargeant Stauffer. Just a few minutes prior to this writing, Lee County Sheriff Sheriff, Jim H. Johnson wrote: “I want to thank everyone that supported and prayed for us these past few days. It has truly been felt and answered. To Mayor Jason Shelton, Chief Bart Aguirre, and Tupelo City Council, your first 6 months have been tested. I am proud and amazed at how well you have led and supported each other through this tragedy. You have served with honor. I promised that as your Sheriff, we would stand by you and be with you through this. We will continue to offer that support. I have been told by many people that had the chance to come and help on this investigation to say, “Sheriff I have never seen such a warm and caring community”. My reply was simply, ” you see now, not only why I do what I do, but why I choose here to do it.” May God find us faithful.”

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