Almost 20 years after a North Texas police officer was shot and injured by a man who had just robbed a bank, authorities say they used DNA to identify the suspect, who was found dead in Oklahoma as they prepared to arrest him.
Mark Alan Long, 60, was found dead Sunday near a cell tower in southeast Oklahoma City, authorities said Wednesday. Authorities say that while they believe he killed himself, a medical examiner will determine his cause of death.
In March 2003, North Richland Hills police Officer Jeff Garner, now a captain in the suburban Fort Worth department, was shot in the ankle as he tried to pull over a man for a traffic violation who -- unbeknownst to him -- had just robbed a bank in nearby Watauga.
North Richland Hills police said that a detective found after reopening the case in 2015 that the suspect in Garner's shooting was believed to be linked to seven bank robberies from 1998 to 2003.
In December 2021, Long was identified as the suspect based on shared DNA matches identified on a public DNA comparison platform, police said. In February, undercover detectives got Long's DNA from items he'd used in an Oklahoma restaurant, and that DNA matched DNA collected in some of the bank robberies, police said.
In a search of Long's home this month, a revolver was found that matched evidence from Garner's shooting, police said. And when authorities located a Jeep that Long had previously owned, damage consistent with a bullet hole was found, police said.
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Before Long was found dead, four arrest warrants had been secured. Police said he was to be charged with attempted capital murder of a peace officer, aggravated robbery and two counts of robbery.