Officer Robert McKeithen was a 24-year veteran of the Biloxi Police Department, who was planning on retiring at the end of the year. He was a white man, just doing his job, when a black man walked up to him and opened fire.
Officer McKeithen was shot just outside the main headquarters of the Biloxi Police department by a 19-year-old black male. [‘A sad day for the City of Biloxi’: 24-year veteran of Biloxi Police identified as officer killed in shooting, WLOX.com, May 6, 2019]
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Officer Robert McKeithen, a 24-year veteran of Biloxi Police Department, has been identified as the officer who was killed Sunday night outside the city’s public safety building.
Police identified 19-year-old Darian Tawan Atkinson as the man accused of killing the officer. Police say once captured, he will be charged with capital murder.
“It’s a very sad day for the City of Biloxi. A 24-year veteran for our department Robert McKeithen – and there’s no easy way to say this – was murdered last night right here in our parking lot,” said Biloxi Police Chief John Miller. “Robert was an unbelievably fine policeman. He did a great job; took care of the citizens of Biloxi for almost 24 years.”
An earlier news conference was held at 9 a.m. Monday to update the public on the shooting.
McKeithen died just after 10 p.m. after being shot multiple times outside the police headquarters, according to the chief.
“Robert was planning on retiring at the end of the year,” said Chief Miller. “He leaves behind a wife, two stepsons, and a stepdaughter. He was a wonderful family man. That’s where he spent all of his time, with his family.”
Authorities are looking for Atkinson, who is accused of shooting the officer outside the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center on Porter Avenue. That’s the main headquarters for the Biloxi Police Department.
According to Chief Miller, first responders rushed the officer to Merit Health. The chief was there just before midnight when he received the news that the officer had died in the emergency room.
Investigators say he approached McKeithen outside the building in the parking lot, opening fire and shooting the officer multiple times. McKeithen was on-duty and in uniform at the time, said the chief.
Authorities released surveillance photos that were captured from him entering the building.
They also released a description of the suspect, saying he is a thin man between 5′7″ and 5′10″. When he approached the officer, he was wearing a black T-shirt, navy blue shorts and a rolled up red skull beanie. He also had dark high tops with red heel caps.
Will we learn of the motivation behind the killing of this white police officer just outside the police headquarters in Biloxi?
Odds aren’t good considering the description of the suspect initially put out to the public identified him as a “thin man” and failed to note he was a black male.
Rest in peace, Officer McKeithen.