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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: 94573

Reported Deaths: 2870
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7032159
DeSoto547759
Harrison380573
Jackson343069
Madison323386
Rankin322577
Lee265468
Jones245279
Forrest242571
Washington219772
Lafayette213739
Lauderdale2038125
Bolivar181366
Oktibbeha176350
Lamar165534
Neshoba1556104
Panola145527
Lowndes144958
Sunflower143946
Warren138450
Leflore138381
Pontotoc124916
Pike122450
Monroe120768
Scott117126
Copiah116633
Coahoma114428
Holmes109558
Marshall108516
Lincoln107553
Grenada107236
Yazoo104630
Simpson101844
Union98824
Tate96237
Leake94638
Adams92637
Wayne88821
Pearl River87053
Marion84535
Prentiss83417
Covington81322
Itawamba78721
Alcorn78611
Newton76723
Tallahatchie76421
George75913
Winston73519
Chickasaw66724
Tishomingo66738
Tippah65417
Attala65325
Walthall59525
Clay58518
Hancock57221
Clarke57045
Jasper56215
Noxubee54616
Smith52914
Calhoun50812
Tunica48213
Claiborne45916
Montgomery45820
Lawrence42912
Yalobusha42314
Perry41618
Humphreys37515
Quitman3735
Stone36512
Greene35917
Jefferson Davis33511
Webster33313
Amite32110
Carroll31412
Wilkinson30218
Kemper28815
Sharkey26513
Jefferson2449
Benton2232
Franklin1923
Choctaw1816
Issaquena1043
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 132452

Reported Deaths: 2335
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19306349
Mobile13233291
Montgomery8748177
Madison770978
Tuscaloosa7418116
Lee579261
Shelby578750
Baldwin514149
Marshall389244
Etowah340247
Calhoun340140
Morgan323926
Houston276423
Elmore259647
DeKalb237519
St. Clair226337
Walker225383
Talladega210628
Limestone203319
Cullman186818
Dallas175926
Franklin175229
Russell17322
Autauga171525
Lauderdale167333
Colbert162926
Blount158015
Escambia157725
Jackson154011
Chilton152431
Dale134644
Covington133427
Coffee12988
Pike11799
Chambers114442
Tallapoosa113885
Clarke107017
Marion95429
Butler91139
Barbour8517
Winston71812
Marengo70519
Lowndes65227
Pickens64514
Bibb63810
Randolph62713
Hale61928
Lawrence60522
Bullock59714
Geneva5864
Cherokee58315
Monroe5808
Clay5547
Washington55113
Perry5396
Conecuh53011
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw52732
Henry4835
Macon47920
Fayette4358
Sumter43219
Lamar3572
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3356
Greene30315
Coosa1673
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