Police ID bank robber who killed Miss. officer

Dec. 30, 2013 at 5:22 PM
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PHOENIX, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Phoenix police have identified a bank robber suspected of killing one Mississippi police officer and wounding another as Army veteran Mario Edward Garnett.

Garnett, 40, died after a firefight outside a Phoenix bank Saturday during a third robbery attempt. He was the subject of an intense six-day FBI manhunt after he was linked to robberies in Atlanta and Tupelo, Miss., last week. In the latter incident, which took place at a Bancorp South branch Dec. 23, the suspect exchanged gunfire with police, killing Tupelo police officer Kevin "Gale" Stauffer, 38, and wounding officer Joseph Maher, 26.

Garnett was killed Saturday after attempting to flee a Phoenix bank with a bag of cash taken from a vault when he encountered police outside.

"The robber encountered a Phoenix police detective outside the bank and shots were fired," the FBI said in a statement. "The bank robber was shot and killed in the exchange."

Daniel McMullen, special agent in charge of the Jackson, Miss., FBI branch, said several pieces of evidence linked Garnett to the three crimes, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Sunday. Surveillance video showed him wearing the same clothing, he used the same object to prop open a door and cellphone records showed his phone to be active in all three cities at the times of the robberies, the FBI said.

Garnett once served time in federal prison for threatening to kill President Barack Obama in a post on the White House website. He was ordered to undergo mental health counseling as a result of the threat and was banned from owning guns. He was released from federal prison in July.

Records show he served four years in the U.S. Army.

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