Mississippi: Police hunt killer of officer outside station

Photo: Biloxi Police Department via WLOX-TV

Updated Article - A gunman who fatally shot a uniformed officer outside the Biloxi police station remained on the run Monday, the subject of an intense manhunt along Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

Posted: May 7, 2019 9:58 AM

Updated ArticleSuspect caught in killing of Mississippi officer at station

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — A gunman who fatally shot a uniformed officer outside the Biloxi police station remained on the run Monday, the subject of an intense manhunt along Mississippi's Gulf Coast.


Robert McKeithen

It's unclear what prompted the killing of Officer Robert McKeithen, a 23-year veteran of the Biloxi police department who had been scheduled to retire this year. Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said police don't know if he was targeted, or the victim of a random act.

"The animal that did this is still on the run," Miller told reporters Monday morning. "We're going to do everything within our power to bring him to justice for Robert and his family."

Authorities say the man approached McKeithen in the station's parking lot on Sunday night and shot him multiple times, either before or after coming inside the station.

Authorities released images taken from a surveillance camera inside the station, showing a suspect wearing navy blue shorts, a black T-shirt, a red beanie cap and dark high-top sneakers. Miller said the man came inside "at one point," and "seemed a bit nonchalant" as he walked around.

Authorities withheld details of the shooting itself, but Miller said that "with all of Robert's training, I don't know that there was anything else he could have done."

McKeithen was rushed to a nearby hospital emergency room, where he was pronounced dead.

Within two minutes, other officers set up "a pretty intense perimeter," but the gunman remained at large hours later, Miller said.

Officials pleaded for the public to identify the suspect, saying a $5,000 award is being offered.

The news conference was held on the steps of Biloxi's police headquarters, and Miller gestured at one point toward the crime scene, around McKeithen's patrol SUV. He said his officer was "murdered last night right here in our parking lot."

Miller turned the case over to the neighboring Gulfport Police Department, saying it's better to have an outside agency investigate the killing of one of Biloxi's officers.

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania promised an "around-the-clock" investigation.

"Everyone is concerned," Papania said. "Anytime you have this kind of a deliberate and violent attack on a police officer, especially right in front of a police station, it should cause everybody great concern."

Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson and the local district attorney are also assisting, along with state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Miller said he believes the man is still in the area, but says he has no information to support that.

McKeithen, 58, was described as an Air Force veteran with a wife, daughter, two stepsons and a stepdaughter.

Miller said he and McKeithen had handled calls together earlier in their career. The chief said McKeithen and three other officers were awarded a medal of valor for risking their lives to rescue four special needs children during 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

"He was a very gentle man for a policeman," Miller said. "He treated people with respect and dignity and we're going to miss him sorely."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 83°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Oxford
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 79°
We continue to monitor a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico. This will be in heavy rainfall two locations across the southeast over the course of the weekend, and flooding rainfall could be in tow as well. Things are looking better for Father’s Day itself, thankfully.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather