Accused Cop-Killing Bank Robber From Oklahoma City

Sunday, December 29th 2013, 11:06 pm
By: News 9

Authorities say a bank robber who shot and killed a Mississippi police officer was a longtime Oklahoma City resident.

The suspect, Mario Edward Garnett, was shot and killed by Phoenix Police Saturday after another bank robbery attempt.

It's the end of the line for a suspected cop-killing bank robber. Garnett was the subject of a nationwide manhunt before he was killed by police in Phoenix this weekend. He was accused of robbing a bank and shooting two police officers in Mississippi, one of them died.

Garnett just got out of federal prison five months ago after he threatened to kill President Barack Obama in an online post in 2010. He was ordered not to own a gun and get mental health care upon his release, but authorities are tying him to the shooting death of a police officer.

"It's very unusual for a resident of our city to travel to Atlanta, to Tupelo, Miss. and Phoenix, Ariz., and rob or attempt to rob banks in such a short fashion," said Oklahoma City FBI supervisory special agent Gary Johnson.

Johnson says the FBI and Oklahoma City Police Department have been working around the clock to dig up any evidence on Garnett.

"We received no further information or anything through our investigation that would've indicated that he was going to become serial bank robber," he said. "There's nothing in that past that would directly indicate that he would commit this type of act as far as robbing banks."

Garnett is accused of attempting to rob a bank Atlanta two days before Christmas, then robbing a bank in Tupelo, shooting two police officers, injuring one, killing the other.

12/29/2013 Related Story: FBI: Suspect Killed In Arizona Bank Robbery Attempt Is From OKC

Beth Stauffer, wife of the slain officer thanked law enforcement at a press conference in Mississippi on Sunday.

"We can truly begin the healing process and that cannot have happened without the hard work of so many," Stauffer said. "Numerous people did not get to celebrate Christmas with their families because they were trying to bring peace to our family."

It was Saturday's attempted bank robbery in Phoenix where Garnett was shot and killed by police. But before the bank robberies, 40-year-old Garnett was believed to at one time lived at an apartment on NW 34th St.

Another apartment complex, Western Oaks, filed a case against Garnett in 2004 saying he owed $1,500.

Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes said at a Sunday news conference that Garnett had served for four years in the U.S. Army and appeared to have no friends or relatives in Arizona.

It was a threat to President Obama posted on the White House website in 2010 that landed Garnett in federal prison. He wrote, "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." Garnett was sentenced to eight months.

Since learning Garnett's identity, the FBI has checked all of the metro's recent robberies to see if he was connected. But, Johnson says so far, Garnett is not tied to any other robberies.

Sgt. Gale Stauffer of the Tupelo Police Department was laid to rest on Friday. The second officer shot, Joseph Maher, is recovering in the hospital.