Suspect Arrested After Police Officer is Shot and Killed Outside Mississppi Police Station

Officer Robert McKeithen of the Biloxi Police Department is pictured in an undated handout photo.
Credit: City of Biloxi

An arrest has been made in the murder of an on-duty police officer who was gunned down in front of his police station.

Officer Robert McKeithen, a veteran of the Biloxi Police Department, was killed in an ambush shooting outside the Biloxi, Mississippi, police headquarters Sunday night. After shooting McKeithen multiple times, the suspect escaped the area, said Biloxi Police Chief John Miller.

On Monday night, authorities identified and arrested the suspect in the shooting, 19-year-old Darian Atkinson, on a charge of capital murder.

A Biloxi officer on their way home spotted Atkinson on the street in Wiggins. The officer notified Wiggins police, who took Atkinson into custody, police said.

McKeithen, who was on the force for 24 years, was planning to retire at the end of this year, officials said Monday. A memorial service for him will be held Tuesday evening.

Gulfport, Mississippi, Police Chief Leonard Papania, whose agency is leading the investigation, said McKeithen was in uniform when the gunman approached him in the parking lot at about 10 p.m. on Sunday and opened fire.

Investigators released surveillance photos showing the male suspect, described as thin, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-10, and wearing a black T-shirt, navy shorts and a red skull cap, as well as a video of the suspected shooter casually walking into police headquarters and appearing to smile at an officer in the lobby.

A $5,000 reward has been offered by Crime Stoppers for any information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the gunman.

The mortally wounded McKeithen was taken to Merit Heath hospital in Biloxi, where he died.

Chief Miller said it was not immediately clear if the killer randomly selected McKeithen or if he specifically targeted the officer.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Justin Doom and Bill Hutchinson