By JB Clark
TUPELO – Tupelo Police Officer Joseph Maher was released from the North Mississippi Medical Center this morning, according to Police Chief Bart Aguirre, eight days after being critically wounded in a shootout.
Aguirre said they slipped Maher out quietly. The family has requested privacy in the coming weeks as Maher continues to heal.
“I was encouraged, when I saw him this morning, at how well he was doing and how strong he was looking,” Aguirre said. “It’s encouraging to see him bounce back the way he has.”
Maher was shot by a fleeing suspect when responding to a bank robbery on South Gloster Street Dec. 23.
Sgt. Kevin “Gale” Stauffer was shot and killed during the same exchange of gunfire. Stauffer was buried in the Tupelo Memorial Park Cemetery Friday.
Aguirre previously reported Maher was able to walk with some assistance Friday and would begin scheduling surgeries as he regained strength.
The man believed to be responsible for the bank robbery and subsequent shooting was shot and killed Saturday after robbing a bank in Phoenix. Authorities also believe he was responsible for an attempted bank robbery in Atlanta Dec. 23.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen said phone records place Mario Edward Garnett, the man killed during the Phoenix bank robbery, in Atlanta and Tupelo at the time of the Dec. 23 bank robberies.