Robber suspected of killing officer killed in shootout - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Robber suspected of killing officer killed in shootout

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A man killed in a shootout with police after he allegedly robbed a bank in Phoenix, Ariz., is believed to be the suspected killer of a police officer and serial bank robber sought in a nationwide manhunt, the FBI said today.

According to the FBI, the suspect -- armed with a gun -- entered a Phoenix bank around 10 a.m. on Saturday. After allegedly taking cash from the bank vault, the 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 unidentified suspect after he allegedly shot two police officers following a bank robbery 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.

FBI special agent Daniel McMullen said today the investigation was ongoing, but multiple clues lead investigators to believe that the suspect killed in Arizona is the same man responsible for the robbery and shooting in Mississippi.

According to police, cell phone records showed the suspect was in the same area as each different bank robbery and wore similar clothing during each robbery attempt. He also allegedly made similar statements at each robbery.

The alleged suspect was also connected to an earlier 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.

At the news conference today, McMullen also revealed new details about the fatal Dec. 23 shooting in Tupelo. According to police the suspect fled the Tupelo bank in a grey sedan, but was later reported to be in a white SUV.

When the two officers, Gale Stauffer and Joseph Maher, responded to the bank alarm, they saw a white SUV near the bank and stopped the vehicle. The suspect was in a grey sedan behind the SUV. While the officers were dealing with the driver of the white SUV, the suspect ambushed the two officers, fatally wounding Stauffer.

At the press conference today, Stauffer's wife, Beth Stauffer thanked law enforcement officials for their hard work.

"Numerous people did not get to celebrate Christmas with their families, because they were trying to bring peace to our family," said Beth Stauffer.

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," his wife 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.

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