The manhunt for a “cop killer” was expanded today to a nationwide dragnet to find the suspected bank robber who fatally shot a Mississippi police officer two days before Christmas, according to the FBI. Tupelo Police Department officer Gale Stauffer and another officer were hit by gunfire Monday when they confronted suspected bank robbers during their getaway in the city. As the officers approached suspects in a vehicle, which was stuck in traffic at a railroad crossing, at least one of the suspects opened fire at close range, according to an account posted online at the Officer Down Memorial Page. The suspects fled, leaving Stauffer fatally shot and another officer critically wounded Stauffer “has made the ultimate sacrifice for his community,” Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton said, urging the public to help “so that the criminal or criminals responsible for this horrendous act can be brought to justice.” After reviewing bank surveillance video from the robbery of a BancorpSouth bank in Tupelo, authorities are looking for a thin, possibly African-American man with light complexion, standing between 5-feet-9 and 6-feet tall, according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. The suspect seen in the surveillance video was wearing khaki or cargo-style pants, white Converse tennis shoes, a long-sleeved jacket and a blue ski mask, the state public safety department said. A charcoal-colored, medium-sized sedan might have been used as a getaway car. As part of the investigation, authorities also released a photo (shown below) of a “person of interest” standing in what appears to be a convenience store minutes before the robbery at the bank. Police did not discuss any possible connection to the bank shooting.More than 100 agents, officers, deputies and marshals worked through Christmas to track down the suspects, an FBI official said. The FBI, BancorpSouth and others are offering more than $152,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI’s tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).
Stauffer was a combat veteran of the Louisiana Army National Guard, and he had served with the Tupelo Police Department for eight years, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He was married with two young children.
by Ken Davidson
A new investigation by the Illinois Better Government Association, while not specifically mentioning Hightman, calls the relationship between SBC Illinois and the Office of Congressman Bobby Rush into question. Andy Shaw, President and CEO of the Better Government Association is quick to point out “We’re not suggesting that Rush broke the law, but we are saying the fog needs to be cleared and real answers provided.” SBC Illinois was the donor of the $1M grant to Rush’s non-profit organization. The grant was supposed to build a technology center in Chicago’s troubled Englewood neighborhood. According to reports from the BGA, the center was never built and the money was never accounted for. Shaw calls for an investigation into:
[Rush] maintains the money wasn’t stolen or squandered, but that claim, without verification, doesn’t suffice, so we’re suggesting some options for shining more light on the situation:
The House Ethics Committee can see if Rush crossed any legal or ethical lines in regards to the million-dollar grant, his charity accepting tons of money from regulated companies seeking his legislative help, and his campaign office apparently not paying rent.
The Federal Election Commission can look at whether Rush or his campaign operation violated federal law by apparently accepting free rent, not reporting it as an in-kind donation and possibly exceeding donation limits.
The Internal Revenue Service can investigate the tax implications of all this, including whether Rush’s nonprofit violated the law by wrongly claiming on one disclosure form the tech center had been built, which wasn’t true.
The IRS can also find out if Rush used campaign cash to enhance his personal lifestyle, which is what got former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in trouble.
Any such investigation would obviously focus on whether or not the grantor received anything of value in return for the no strings grant. Regardless of whether there was any impropriety in the transaction, the situation calls into question the professional judgment of Hightman.
Carrie Hightman, the Chair of the Gary P3 Committee, became Chief Legal Office for NiSource in 2007 after serving as CEO of AT&T Illinois, which was formerly SBC Illinois. In a statement released when Hightman joined NiSource, her experience in ” regulatory, legislative, governmental and external affairs activities, as well as community and industry relations, throughout Illinois” were cited. The statement went on to explain:
During her tenure at AT&T, Hightman led the company through a series of important public policy initiatives as AT&T evolved from a traditional telephone company into a provider of diversified communications and entertainment services, including wireline, wireless, data and video services. Under her leadership, AT&T secured unanimous regulatory approval of a landmark agreement to deregulate local telephone service and offer competitive pricing in the metropolitan Chicago market, as well as helped the company return to the long distance telephone market after a twenty-year absence.
The SBC Foundation states that they provide grants of $25,000 to $50,000. The Gazette could find no evidence of any other single grant in any amount near $1M. Additionally, the 990 tax forms submitted by the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation listed no such contribution, despite a specific question asking about “Unusual Grants.”
28 Unusual Grants: For an organization described in line 10, 11, or 12 that received any unusual grants during 20001hrough 2003, prepare a list for your records
to show, for each year, the name of the contributor, the date and amount of the grant, and a brief description of the nature of the grant. Do not file this list with
your return. Do not include these grants in line 15.
423121 12-03-04 NONE Schedule A (Form BBO or 990-EZ) 2004
Hightman was instrumental in selecting the contractor that was recently approved by the airport board to run the airport for up to 40 years. While this information was not disclosed to the airport board, the Gazette has previously reported on the connection between Hightman and one of the companies involved in the partnership that was ultimately selected.
The Better Government Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is not affiliated with the Northwest Indiana Gazette. You can read the entire BGA article at their website The Million Dollar Question
by Ken Davidson
After what turned out to be an embarrassing error in judgment, the Gazette has received permission to publish photos of the truck that crashed into a Hessville home on December 13. The homeowners report that the crash occurred after a delivery was made at a school across the street. The driver stated that the gas pedal stuck and he lost control of the vehicle. A 12 year old resident of the home was on the couch in the living room of the home which was struck by the truck. She was injured and received treatment for a concussion. The driver of the truck had to be cut from the vehicle.
There is a soccer field at the school and the family questions why the driver could not veer in that direction, avoiding risk. The home is a total loss.
by Ken Davidson
Paula Palo was sighted today in Gary near 5th and Broadway. At approximately 3:00 pm a caller reported seeing Paula to the Gary Police Department. Officers checked the area but did not find her. The family wishes to thank those who have kept a lookout and remains hopeful that Paula can be found safely and get her medication. Paula is 59 years old and was last seen wearing the black coat pictured below. She was wearing blue jeans and a cross necklace.
If you see Paula or have any information, please call the Gary Police Department at 219.881.1260
by Ken Davidson
The office of Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey has confirmed that the victim in a December 27 homicide as 24 year old Trammel Harper of Gary. The report states that coroner investigators were called to the 2200 block of Georgia Street at 9:40 pm. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.
At approximately 9:00 p.m. the Gazette began receiving reports of a homicide in the 2100 block of Georgia Street in Gary. Gary police were reportedly searching for a suspect in a late model grand prix. King Carter was the first to report this incident. Others have subsequently verified it, including family members of the victim.
King Carter has since reported that the driver of the Grand Prix was apprehended. We have not received confirmation of that from the Gary Police Department at this time.
Porter County-A Sawyer, Michigan man was hit and killed early this morning when he stepped in front of an oncoming car on I-94 and was killed.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Jacob Raupp revealed that at approximately 1:15 a.m., this Saturday, December 28, 2013, morning Bradley A. Miner, 36 of Sawyer, Michigan, parked his 1999 Jeep Wrangler on the shoulder of I-94 west bound at the 29 mile marker (this is just east of the I-94 west bound truck scales) for unknown reasons. Miner then left his vehicle with some of his personal belongings inside and stepped out in front of a 2005 Buick LaSabre, driven by a twenty-five (25) year old man from Gary that was traveling in the middle lane.
Miner was struck and pronounced dead at the scene by a deputy with the Porter County Coroner’s Office of massive blunt force trauma. The driver of the Buick was not injured.
The right, middle and entrance ramp to the scales where closed until approximately 4:00 a.m., for reconstruction of the crash, investigation of the circumstances, removal of the deceased and car.
by Ken Davidson
The Gazette has confirmed that a female was robbed at gunpoint outside the Village Discount Store in Hessville on December 26. A necklace and cash was taken in the robbery. The suspect was described as a black male wearing a hoodie. A handgun was used in the incident and the suspect fled on foot.
The Gazette received this report in conjunction with today’s very similar robbery at the same location. It was reported by Hammond Police on crimereports.com today:
Robbery 12/26/2013 07:20 PM 2700 Block 165TH ST 201300085645 Robbery
Hammond Police Department
To Keep up with all the current news, please Like Us on Facebook.