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Texas police seek bank robber who shot officer in 2003

A composite image of a bank robber wanted in connection with the shooting of a North Richland Hills police officer in March 2003. [Provided]

A composite image of a bank robber wanted in connection with the shooting of a North Richland Hills police officer in March 2003. [Provided]

A dozen years later, North Richland Hills, Texas, police are still looking for a bank robber who shot one of their own after a heist.

A reward of up to $13,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspect in the attempted capital murder case.

North Richland police have dubbed him the "Cowboy Hat Bandit."

On the afternoon of March 3, 2003, traffic officer Jeff Garner stopped a red Jeep for a violation in the 7100 block of Bursey Road. As he stepped off his police motorcycle, the driver of the Jeep sped away from the traffic stop, eventually driving off the road, making a U-turn back toward Garner and firing shots with a handgun. Garner pulled his service weapon and, despite suffering a gunshot wound to the leg, was able to return fire.

Garner recovered fully and is still a police officer with the department.

Investigators determined the man had committed a bank robbery in Watauga moments before the stop. Despite an extensive investigation, the bandit has never been identified. He is thought to have been involved in at least six other bank robberies across Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas from 1998 to 2003.

He is wanted in Oklahoma City bank robberies on Oct. 24, 1998, and April 24, 1999, and a Tulsa bank robbery on Feb. 21, 2003.

The robber in the other incidents is similar in physical description, method of operation and other undisclosed evidence.

The robber is described as a heavyset white man with acne-like scarring on his face and a protruding belly. He wore a fake mustache and was wearing an eye patch over his left eye.

A website established for the incident highlights the newspaper articles discussing the case, the original police radio traffic of the traffic stop, suspect and vehicle descriptions, information of possible related cases, the reward flyer and information on the sponsors that are making the reward possible.

If you have information that might assist in this investigation, contact the North Richland Hills Police at (817) 427-7000.

The website can be found at http://www.nrhtx.com/garner.

 

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