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Officer slain during Miss. bank robbery has funeral

Sgt. Kevin "Gale" Stauffer, 38, of the Tupelo, Miss., Police Department was promoted from corporal after his death Dec. 23, 2013, while chasing a bank robber. The promotion was effective Dec. 22. (Photo: Tupelo, Miss., Police Department)A Tupelo, Miss., police officer shot to death during a bank robbery was buried Friday as authorities continue to search for his killer.
 
About 1,000 residents lined the streets during a funeral procession from First United Methodist Church to Tupelo Memorial Park cemetery for slain officer Kevin "Gale" Stauffer, The (Tupelo, Miss.) Daily Journal reported. Hundreds of law-enforcement officers from Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee were part of the procession.
 
Stauffer, 38, was the first Tupelo officer killed in the line of duty. He and Officer Joseph Mahr, 27, got out of their cars in traffic near a BancorpSouth branch that was robbed Monday and advanced toward a vehicle when a gunman ambushed them and shot both at point-blank range.
 
Mahr was critically injured but was able to leave the intensive care unit Friday for a private room.
 
Stauffer's funeral procession passed his family's home in this city of about 35,000 people 100 miles southeast of Memphis. Officers have been standing guard over the house since Stauffer's death.
 
Stauffer's wife, Beth, said her strong faith keeps her standing.
 
"I have my moments. But, I'm at peace with Gale because I know he died doing something he loved," she said. "The way he was at work as a leader is what he was like at home."
 
Contributing: The Associated Press
 

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