Mario Edward Garnett, 40, has been named by the FBI as the serial robber who had terrorized banks in Arizona, Mississippi and Georgia over the holiday period. He has also been implicated in the murder of Tupelo, Mississippi cop Kevin “Gale” Stauffer on December 23.
He was shot dead by a Phoenix police detective in the parking lot of a bank on the morning of December 28.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Deadly Chase Went Across 3 States
The carnage began on the morning of December 23 at around 8:30 a.m. when Garnett is alleged to have attempted a robbery on a bank in Atlanta, Georgia. When the heist failed, he robbed one of the bank’s ATM customers just outside the building. He then moved on to Tupelo, Mississippi that afternoon where he was accused of ambushing two cops, wounding Officer Edward Maher, 27, and killing Officer Kevin “Gale” Stauffer, 38, the two cops were responding to a bank’s alarm, Garnett allegedly was robbing it when an alarm was tripped, reports AZ Central. Maher was severely wounded but is expected to survive, reports The Clarion Ledger.
— Matt Bush (@PhotoJouMATT) December 29, 2013
2. He Was Shot After Attempting a Third Robbery
A massive multi-state manhunt was launched for Garnett. It ended on December 28 outside of the Compass Bank in Phoenix (above). After he was spotted by a citizen who called 911 entering the bank, uniformed officers responded to the scene. Garnett began shooting, another plainclothes detective who also arrived on scene, shot and killed Garnett.
3. He Was Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison For Threatening the President
In 2010, Garnett was arrested and convicted of threatening President Barack Obama. According to CNN, he wrote on a comments threat on the White House website:
If you order a strike on Iran, I’m going to come up there and blow your brains out on national TV. You scheming hypocrite. You don’t mean anything to me. Youre just one dirt bag out of a handful plotting evil behind closed doors. Ive got plans for some of you, here shortly. … GOD has given Me a mandate. Glory belongs to GOD for all to come.
Other than this arrest, Garnett has no other criminal record. The Secret Service have said that Garnett was forbidden from carrying a weapon and was released from a three year conviction for threatening the president in July 2013. He was also forced to get mental health treatment upon his release.
4. He’s a Military Vet
Garnett, previously lived in Oklahoma City and was four-year veteran of the U.S. Army. According to the Clarion Ledger, before identifying Garnett, cops suspected he may have military training thanks to the tactics he used during the robberies.
Daniel McMullen, the special agent in charge of the operation told reporters:
This investigation is not over.
All of the evidence gathered by investigators following the Phoenix robbery must be examined and compared with that gathered from the Atlanta and Tupelo crime scenes. There are numerous leads which we must continue to follow and questions which we must answer.
5. The FBI Were Tracking Garnett Since Tupelo
Garnett was tracked by the FBI into Phoenix by cellphone records. Through these records Feds say they have been able to prove that Garnett was in Atlanta and Tupelo at the time of the robberies.