A Tupelo shooting has left one family without a father, just days before the Christmas holiday. The small town of Tupelo, Mississippi, is mourning the death of Police Officer Gale Stauffer, who was shot and killed by a masked bank robber on Monday, reports WREG out of Memphis on Dec. 24.
A lone individual, wearing a ski mask and armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, walked into BanCorpSouth’s Gloster Creek Village branch and demanded money. Police were called, and Stauffer and another officer responded. The suspect opened fire, gunning down Stauffer.
The second officer, whose name was not released, reportedly remains in critical condition.
Police responded and pursued the man as he left the bank with an undisclosed sum of cash. A nearby commuter train pinned the officers in, giving them very little cover and exposing themselves to the assailant’s shots.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton acknowledged the community’s grief and called on residents to attend a candlelight vigil on Christmas Eve to honor Stauffer’s bravery.
”There will be a vigil in Fairpark at 5 p.m. tomorrow, just to honor and bring the community together in honor of Sergeant Stauffer and pray for him and his family,” Shelton said.
Officer Stauffer leaves behind a wife and two children.
The FBI has been called in and a reward is being offered to catch the suspect, who is described as 5'9" to 6' tall, a thin build with a light black complexion. Investigators also said the man may be left-handed and injured.
Reward money has been donated by local businesses in the community and currently stands at approximately $150,000.