Vigil held for officers shot after bank robbery - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Vigil held for officers shot after bank robbery

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TUPELO, MS -

(WMC-TV) - Tupelo, Miss., residents honored fallen officer Gale Stauffer and injured officer Joseph Maher on Christmas Day. The two were shot chasing a bank robber Monday.

Volunteers lined the streets with luminaries to pay tribute to the officers and show support to their families.

John Ingle knows Stauffer's mother. He says the vigil is about helping the families get through the holiday season.

"I wanted to give back, to let her know and her family know that their community here cares deeply about this happening to them," said Ingle.

Local churches and businesses donated the thousands of candles that shined for the two officers as the community deals with an unthinkable tragedy.

"Since I've moved here back 11, 12 years ago we actually haven't lost a law enforcement officer locally," said Ingram.

Captain Terry Sanford worked with Sergeant Gale Stauffer for three years.

"I'd tell him job well done and we're going to miss him," said Capt. Sanford.

"We came out today just to show our support for the families," said Marietta Sturgeon.

Like many others, Marietta Sturgeon didn't know either family. But that will not stop her from praying for Maher's recovery and for the two children and wife that Stauffer leaves behind.

"It's very upsetting to see that someone at Christmas time took those babies' dad from them," she said. "I can't imagine that mother waking up as a widow."

"He gave the city of Tupelo the most precious gift. He laid down his life in the line of duty," said Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre.

Taps closed out the ceremony and the candles were put out, the people of Tupelo said "Thank you."

"This was very emotional. I was glad to see the support Tupelo brought out today," said Sturgeon.

"The city and the people have really come through for us and it means a lot to us. It really does," agreed Capt. Sanford.

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