MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com)–A nationwide manhunt ended Saturday when a bank robber, accused of shooting and killing a police officer in Tupelo, Mississippi, was killed during a shootout with police in Arizona.
Investigators say the suspect killed in Phoenix is the same man who shot and killed Sgt. Gale Stauffer Monday. Officer Joseph Maher was also injured in that shooting. The suspect was also caught on camera earlier Monday morning trying to rob a bank in Atlanta, GA.
“All of us hope that the conclusion of this investigation will bring some measure of comfort and peace,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge, Daniel McMullen.
In Tupelo, Mississippi, the FBI along with state and local law enforcement held a media conference, and Beth Stauffer, the widow of Officer Gale Stauffer, also made a statement thanking law enforcement for their work and the nation for their prayers and support.
The man suspected in a spree of bank robberies and the killing of a police officer in Tupelo, Miss., was sentenced in 2010 for threatening to kill President Obama and his predecessors, a federal law enforcement official told ABC News.
Authorities today identified the suspect, who was killed Saturday in a shootout with police outside a Phoenix, Ariz., bank, as Mario Edward Garnett, 40.
An indictment said that in August 2010 Garnett allegedly posted a message to the White House website, saying among other things: “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 … Netanyahu is a dead man. Damn Israel.”
Six days later, he allegedly posted another message, saying: “I’m going to settle some scores on behalf of Israel and America’s victims on behalf of those they continue to oppress. I’ll kill president and farmer alike. You are either worth something or you are chaff.”
Garnett was sentenced in June 2011 to eight months behind bars and three years supervised release for the threats against the president.
According to court documents, he was held for a month after his sentencing, but on July 26, 2011, he was let out on supervised released.
He was supposed to participate in a “program of mental health aftercare,” but he violated the conditions of supervised released, saying during a mental health session on Sept. 21, 2011, that his probation officer should be “put to death,” according to the document.
He repeatedly “rants and makes threats,” court documents said at the time.
A federal judge placed Garnett on home confinement with GPS monitoring for 120 days.
But in October 2011, a federal judge sentenced Garnett to 24 months in prison for violating his supervised release, and the judge said he “recommends a facility to evaluate and address the defendant’s mental health.”