(Tupelo, MS) A Tupelo police officer has died and a second is in critical condition after a shooting Monday afternoon.
The officers were responding to a robbery at BancorpSouth’s Gloster Creek Village branch when they were shot.
The bank robbery call came in at about 3:15 p.m.
The two officers responded and confronted the suspects on south Gloster Street.
At least one of the suspects then began shooting at close range.
Police said they do not yet know if the officers returned fire, only that multiple casings were found in the area.
Officer Gale Stauffer was pronounced dead at 3:46 p.m.
The 38-year-old leaves behind a wife and two children. He had been with the police department for eight years, served with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for one year, and was also a combat veteran of the Louisiana Army National Guard.
The other officer, whose name has not been released, is 26 years old and in critical condition.
Police say a citizen picked up one of the officers’ radios and called in “officer down.”
There are believed to be two or three suspects, who are said to be heavily armed.
From the Mississippi Department of Public Safety: “Authorities are looking for a black male, approximately 6’3” last seen wearing a Carhartt hoodie, blue jeans and a ski mask.”
Authorities are also looking for a dark gray Dodge Stratus, which is believed to be the getaway vehicle.”
Monday evening, Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton issued a public appeal for information.
There is $100,000 reward for information about the suspects and their location. If you have any helpful information, call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-773-TIPS.
The FBI and U.S. Marshals are in Tupelo, with other agencies reaching out to offer assistance to find the suspects.
There will be grief counseling for Tupelo police.