A suspect has been arrested for the Sunday night ambush killing of a Biloxi, MS, police officer. Darian Tawan Atkinson, 19, faces a charge of capital murder after his arrest Monday night in Wiggins, MS.
Police say Atkinson approached on-duty uniformed Officer Robert McKeithen in the parking lot of Biloxi police headquarters Sunday around 10 p.m. and shot him multiple times. McKeithen was mortally wounded and died at an area hospital. He was reportedly one year away from retirement. No motive has been given for the attack.
Images of the suspect were captured by security cameras when he entered the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center—headquarters of the Biloxi Police—shortly before the murder of Officer McKeithen. The images led to the suspect's capture.
A Biloxi police officer driving home Monday night spotted Atkinson in Wiggins and followed him until Wiggins officers could respond. The suspect was taken into custody by Wiggins officers.
Atkinson was brought back to Biloxi Police headquarters by Gulfport Police. As he was taken out of the back of a patrol car by officers, Atkinson smiled broadly. WLOX TV reported he continued smiling and sticking out his tongue as he was taken into the police station. The Sun Herald also reports he said, "Oh, the police are mad at me," then said, "murder" in a quipping manner.
Dozens of officers, sheriff's deputies, federal agents, firefighters, and civilians lined the sidewalks as Atkinson was delivered to the Biloxi PD headquarters. They applauded as he was taken into the building.
During a Monday night press conference Biloxi Chief John Miller praised all the law enforcement officers who had worked tirelessly on the case. Because of a local air show many had already been on duty for more than 12 hours before the murder. He said some had worked 38-, 40-, and 44 hours without rest.
Miller also thanked the public for its response. He said the department had received calls, cards, letters, and even food. "The community has been very supportive."
Miller said an additional person will be charged with accessory in the case.