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.

Confirmed Cases: 16560

Reported Deaths: 794
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds107426
Madison76728
Lauderdale75968
Neshoba72844
Jones70133
Scott66312
Forrest59539
DeSoto57510
Rankin4569
Leake45212
Holmes44330
Copiah3294
Jackson31415
Attala31118
Yazoo2964
Newton2884
Lincoln28031
Leflore27736
Oktibbeha27314
Harrison2697
Monroe26925
Wayne2623
Lamar2505
Lowndes2479
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20316
Washington1987
Warren19610
Lee1948
Noxubee1936
Covington1792
Bolivar16911
Jasper1674
Clarke15619
Smith15511
Kemper15511
Lafayette1544
Chickasaw14014
Coahoma1314
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1155
Lawrence1071
Grenada1074
Simpson1040
Yalobusha1046
Sunflower923
Tate911
Hancock9012
Union897
Itawamba897
Marshall873
Wilkinson859
Panola843
Montgomery841
Webster844
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun674
Amite661
Walthall640
Humphreys637
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Perry513
Choctaw502
Pontotoc473
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Greene331
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie301
George292
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18766

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2321118
Jefferson1901104
Montgomery185843
Tuscaloosa83616
Marshall7089
Franklin5858
Lee56234
Shelby52819
Tallapoosa43466
Butler42118
Walker3862
Elmore3749
Chambers36026
Madison3534
Unassigned3062
Morgan3021
Baldwin2939
Dallas2923
Lowndes26512
Etowah26312
DeKalb2573
Autauga2415
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2176
Pike2120
Colbert1902
Hale1859
Russell1810
Barbour1771
Marengo1756
Lauderdale1722
Calhoun1673
Wilcox1577
Choctaw15310
Cullman1521
Clarke1492
St. Clair1351
Randolph1287
Dale1240
Marion12411
Pickens1205
Talladega1195
Limestone1080
Chilton1071
Greene954
Macon934
Winston910
Jackson833
Covington821
Henry822
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington736
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe462
Geneva440
Perry430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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