Home / National News / FBI Believes Tupelo Cop Killer Killed in Phoenix


(TUPELO, Miss.) — After a nationwide manhunt for a suspected cop killer, the FBI now believes the unidentified suspect was killed in a shootout with Arizona police on Saturday.

According to the FBI, the suspect was killed after robbing another bank in Phoenix. Around 10 a.m. on Saturday the suspect entered a Phoenix bank with a gun. After taking cash from the bank vault, the alleged suspect attempted to flee, but then encountered a Phoenix police detective. Shots were exchanged and the suspect died from his wounds, according to the FBI.

The bank was the third known robbery or robbery attempt linked to the suspect within the last week, FBI officials said.

Officials had conducted a massive nationwide manhunt for the unnamed suspect after he allegedly shot two police officers after robbing bank in Tupelo, Miss. on Dec. 23. One of the officers was fatally wounded.

A total reward of more than $200,000 had been offered to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

The news of the alleged suspect’s death comes just one day after officials connected the suspected bank robber to a third robbery attempt in Atlanta. According to police, just hours before the fatal incident in Mississippi, the suspect unsuccessfully tried to rob a Bank of America with a gun. After initially failing, the suspect then walked outside and robbed a person at the ATM.

FBI Special Agent Steve Emmett told reporters the security camera images of the suspect in Atlanta were similar to those in Tupelo.

“Same individual, same day, it’s a violent robbery,” said Emmett.

On Dec. 23 Officer Gale Stauffer and a second officer were shot when they confronted the alleged robbers at a railroad crossing in Tupelo, Miss., as they made their escape. Stauffer died of his injuries and the other officer remains in the hospital in serious condition.

Earlier this week residents in Tupelo held a candlelight vigil for Stauffer.

Flags were lowered to half-staff in memory of Stauffer, an army veteran of the Iraq War, and father of two young children.

“I’m at peace knowing Gale died doing what he loved,” said his wife Beth Stauffer.

A funeral service for Stauffer took place on Friday. Stauffer’s mother, Debbie Brangenberg, acknowledged those who came to remember her son.

“The overwhelming love and support that this community has given us has helped us make it through,” she said.

Stauffer was a combat veteran of the Louisiana Army National Guard, and he had served with the Tupelo Police Department for eight years, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

As the officers approached suspects in a vehicle, which was stuck in traffic at a railroad crossing, at least one of the suspects opened fire at close range, according to an account posted online at the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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