Department offers reward for information in police shooting

Published 6:56 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hoping to find the person responsible for shooting two of its police officers, the Olive Branch Police Department is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

The department has talked to “persons of interest” in the June 29 shooting, but no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.

Olive Branch Police Maj. Don Gammage said investigators have been following up on leads and evidence collected from the scene is being processed.

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“We have several different things we’re working on,” he said.

Veteran officer Mark Ayers was shot twice in the chest and is in fair condition at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. Doctors are concerned the officer might be partially paralyzed from the two rounds that hit him in the chest.

“We’re still concerned about the paralysis,” Olive Branch Police Lt. Tim Presley said. “He has felt some tingling in his feet, and that’s positive. We’re still concerned about whether he’ll be able to walk again or not.”

Doug Stanek, a rookie policeman, was shot once and has been released from the hospital.

Police said the shooting occurred after the officers saw a vehicle parked in an area that had been the target of several burglaries recently.

Ayers had apparently approached the vehicle and asked the driver for identification when the man opened fire.

The officers were able to return fire, but it is not clear if the suspect was injured.

Officers recovered a stolen blue 2005 Chrysler 300, which was abandoned near the scene and thought to have been used in the crime. The car had been stolen in Tennessee.