UPDATE: Suspect identified in shooting of Biloxi police officer

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Photo courtesy of Gulfport PD

Update: 

During a press conference, officials identified the suspect as 19-year-old Darian Atkinson, and he will be charged with Capital Murder related to the death of Officer Robert McKeithen, a 24-year veteran of the Biloxi Police Department.

Atkinson is to be considered armed and dangerous.

Original Report: 

A Biloxi police officer is dead after being shot multiple times late Sunday night around 10:30 p.m. During a press conference, Monday morning, Biloxi Police Chief John Miller identified the officer as Robert McKeithen. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

“It’s a very sad day for the City of Biloxi,” said Chief Miller. “A 24-year veteran of our department was, and there’s no easy way to say this, was murdered last night, right here in our own parking lot.”

McKeithen was shot outside of the Biloxi Police Department headquarters around 10:30 Sunday night. Police are saying the suspect approached an on-duty uniformed officer then proceeded to shoot the officer multiple times and then ran off.

Photos courtesy of the Biloxi Police Department.

Miller went on to speak about McKeithen’s service to the City of Biloxi and to the U.S. Air Force.

“During Katrina, Robert with four other officers was awarded the medal of valor for saving four special needs children,” said Miller. “It’s the kind of guy he was.”

Miller went on to say that McKeithen was planning on retiring at the end of the year. He leaves behind a wife, a daughter, two stepsons, and a stepdaughter.

The Gulfport Police Department has taken over the investigation and police are still searching for the suspect who is described as a black male between 5’7′ and 5’10” wearing a black t-shirt, navy blue shorts, and a red skull beanie.  The officer, whose name has not been released yet, died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Police confirmed that the assailant entered the police department at one point.

“The animal that did this is still on the run,” said Miller. “We are going to do everything within our power to bring him to justice for Robert and his family and for the men and women of the Biloxi Police Department and for the Citizens of Biloxi.”

Leonard Papania is the Gulfport Police Chief and said their force will work alongside the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office on the active investigation saying they have been joined by their federal and state partners.

“Anytime you have this kind of deliberate and violent attack on a police officer especially right in front of a police station, it should cause everyone great concern,” said Papania. “We are going to be working on this around the clock.”

Anyone who has any information on the suspect should contact Crime Stoppers or the Gulfport Police Department. Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the murder or McKeithen.

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