Later that same day, the suspect stole an undisclosed amount of money from the BancorpSouth in Tupelo before fleeing in a gray sedan, the FBI has said.
Officers Gale Stauffer and Joseph Maher were responding to a bank alarm and a report that the suspect had fled in a white SUV when they spotted such a vehicle stalled in traffic. The officers were confronting the SUV’s driver when the suspect exited the gray sedan, which was stopped behind the SUV, and ambushed the officers, according to McMullen.
Stauffer died and was buried Friday after a funeral attended by as many as 1,000 people. Dozens of uniformed officers from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and elsewhere attended the service.
Stauffer’s wife, Beth, said her family was grateful for investigators’ work and for the support they’ve received.
“We can truly begin the healing process, and that could not have happened without the hard work of so very many,” she told reporters Sunday. “Gale would be so proud.”
Tupelo police Chief Bart Aguirre told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that Maher’s condition has improved and he was able to walk some with assistance Friday. Maher moved out of the intensive care unit at North Mississippi Medical Center and into a private room.
The Phoenix shooting happened Saturday morning at a Compass Bank branch in the near-northwest part of the city after someone called 911 to report seeing a man run into the bank while wearing a mask.
There were five people inside the bank during the robbery, Holmes said. A customer who ran outside when Garnett turned his attention to the bank manager also called 911.
The first officer to arrive saw the man leave the bank with a bag and a handgun.
“The officer drew his service weapon and began giving the suspect commands at which time the suspect raised his weapon and began firing at the officer,” Holmes said in an earlier statement.