City of Tupelo honors fallen sergeant heroism six years after tragic death
TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – It was the darkest hours for the Tupelo Police Department, on this day, six years ago. That is the day Sergeant Gale Stauffer was gunned down while investigating a bank robbery.
On this anniversary of Stauffer’s death, friends, family, and co-workers pause to honor the officer, dad and husband who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Every December 23 is tough for Sergeant Gale Stauffer’s family.
“Every year you think, well it will be better, and the time comes along and it is a difficult day,” said Sgt. Stauffer’s mother, Debbie Brangenberg, who said she remembers the strong support from the community in the days after her son’s murder death, and the pain is eased somewhat.
“I looked back on some things people sent and said that are comforting, but what I remember the most, is how this community came together, across all economic lines, races, everything and we were a community, we were what Tupelo is about, and that gave myself and our family strength to stand when we thought we couldn’t ,” Brangenberg said.
The ceremony honoring Sergeant Stauffer was held at Tupelo Police Headquarters, next to a cross and plaque memorializing the officer’s sacrifice. Stauffer’s partner, Joseph Maher was also shot, but survived and is working in another Northeast Mississippi city.
Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre said the most tragic day in the department’s history has resulted in even better training and preparation for patrol officers.
“Our officers learned from what happened on that day, how to better approach a situation like that, through this tragedy we can better handle another situation like this,” said Chief Aguirre.
Brangenberg and Aguirre said they appreciate the men and women who protect and serve every day, despite the danger.
“I think we all need to remember the young men and women in law enforcement, they choose this profession, they run toward danger when we run away, they don’t know the people and they help when nobody else can, we need to remember their sacrifice,” said Brangenberg.
Sergeant Stauffer joined the Tupelo Police in 2005 He also served in Iraq with the Louisiana Army National Guard.
The year Sergeant Stauffer was killed, 133 officers died in the line of duty. So far this year, 129 police have lost their lives on the job.