Two Mississippi police officers were shot to death during an traffic stop in Hattiesburg on Saturday evening. Three suspects were in custody, including two who are charged with capital murder.
The deaths of the officers were the first to hit the southern Mississippi city of Hattiesburg in 30 years, and they followed the day after the funeral of a New York City officer who was shot in the head while stopping a man suspected of carrying a handgun.
Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, told the Associated Press that 29-year-old Marvin Banks and 22-year-old Joanie Calloway were each charged with two counts of capital murder, and Banks’ 26-year-old brother, Curtis Banks, was charged with 2 counts of accessory after the fact of capital murder.
Marvin Banks was charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was also charged with grand theft for fleeing in the police cruiser after the shooting.
Officers arrested the three Hattiesburg residents at different locations overnight following the fatal shooting of the officers Saturday evening.
The three suspects were traveling in a Hyundai vehicle when it was stopped and that shots were fired by “one individual” from the vehicle, Strain said.
When Curtis Banks was found and arrested, he said, “No sir I didn’t do it” when asked if he killed the two Hattiesburg officers, WDAM reporter Ryan Moore tweeted.
— Ryan Moore (@RyanMooreMS) May 10, 2015
Lt Jon Traxler, a Hattiesburg Police Department spokesman, identified the officers who died as 34-year-old Benjamin Deen and 25-year-old Liquori Tate. Local reports identified Deen as a past department “officer of the year”, and Tate was a newcomer to the force who was a 2014 graduate of the law enforcement academy.
Both officers died of their wounds at a hospital.
“All I know right now is that there was a traffic stop and someone started shooting at them and both of the officers were struck,” Traxler said.
Hattiesburg resident Tamika Mills was quoted by The Clarion-Ledger as saying some bystanders came upon the officers on the ground, and that one of the officers asked “… ‘Am I dying? I know I’m dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie,’” Mills told the paper.