It has been quite a week for the town I call home. The week began like it does in most towns, visiting the mall to get pictures with Santa for the kids, Christmas shopping, and company Christmas parties.
Then on Monday afternoon something terrible happened that shook Tupelo to the core, 2 on duty Tupelo police officers were shot in broad daylight from a ruthless would be bank robber. Sadly one of the officers Corporal Kevin “Gale” Stauffer would die from his injuries becoming the first police officer in the history of the Tupelo Police Department to die in the line of duty. The second officer Joseph Maher was in critical condition at first and has since been upgraded to serious and moved into a private room and able to walk with assistance, he has a long road ahead in recovery.
As a town we wept for the loss of Corp. Stauffer who was posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant, but more importantly we came together to support the Tupelo Police Department and more importantly the family of the 2 officers. Sgt. Stauffer leaves behind a wife and 2 children ages 6 and 2.
The FBI field office in Jackson, MS setup a command post in Tupelo and the manhunt was on for the man who did this terrible thing. Then reports came in of a man in the same outfit trying to commit a bank robbery earlier that Monday in Atlanta along with bank camera captures confirmed it was the same guy.
Than on Saturday it was reported that a bank robber was killed in a shootout with Phoenix police officers. Hopes were high this was the same guy and today the FBI confirmed it was the same man via cell phone records obtained via court order that confirmed he was in Atlanta, Tupelo, and of course Phoenix on the corresponding days.
As a town we are healing, we are happy that this man will not be able to hurt anymore people, but more importantly the family of the 2 officers has a peace of mind that justice has been served and they can now begin the long process of recovery and healing. We are #TupeloStrong!