Family of slain officer speaks - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

"I'm at peace with Gale because I know he died doing something he loved"

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By Sunya Walls

TUPELO, MS (WTVA) - There's a local family dealing with a tragic loss this Christmas season. Tupelo Police Officer Gale Stauffer died Monday in the line-of-duty. His family says the Tupelo spirit is helping them get through this rough time.

"Everybody has been so wonderful to us through this week," said Stauffer's mother, Debbie Brangenberg. "And, the overwhelming love and support that this community has given us has helped us make it through."

Gale's wife, Beth, says it's her strong faith that keeps her standing and says she'll never give up.

"I have my moments," said Beth Stauffer. "But, I'm at peace with Gale because I know he died doing something he loved. The way he was at work as a leader is what he was like at home."

Debbie Brangenberg is the Director of the Tupelo Downtown Main Street Association. She says her son was born to do his job.

"He loved his job. He loved what he was doing," she said. "He was born to wear a uniform. He was a patriot."

There's a lot of mourning, but there is also a lot of laughter at the good times.

"We had a name for him. We called him a pet coon," said Brangenberg. "He was always pretty brave. When he was 18 months I walked in the kitchen and I found him on top of the refrigerator going 'ta dah!'"

"He was a pest to say the least. He was my big brother and he always looked out for me," said his sister Caroline Turney.

Beth says her husband was brave, and so is the wife of a law enforcement officer.

"When you're a policeman's wife you know anything can happen. And, I think God only gives his strongest soldiers the hardest task or things to go through," said Beth.  "He [God] doesn't give you anything you can't handle."

The family is asking the community to pray for Tupelo Police Officer Joseph Maher and his family. Maher is still recovering from injuries at the hospital.

Copyright 2013 WTVA. All rights reserved.

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