HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hundreds of law enforcement officers and bikers from near and far joined Saturday to honor two of Hattiesburg's fallen heroes.
The 3rd Annual "End of Watch" Memorial Ride started at Hattiesburg Cycles Saturday morning. The ride is in honor of Hattiesburg Police Officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate, who were killed in the line of duty in May of 2015.
"Too often, something happens like this. The first six months to the year, everyone remembers it and then its a fleeting memory," Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree said. "Deen and Tate symbolize what law enforcement does for us in this community."
It was a traffic stop that turned tragic for Deen and Tate on May 9, 2015. Both were shot and later died at Forrest General Hospital. Nine people have been charged in connection to their deaths.
"Blue lives matter, we support the police, we support the military," said R.C. Pittman, who rode from Florida with his group, Bikers for Trump, to attend the third annual event.
"When we are riding our bikes, we are honoring them," Pittman said. "This is just to show our appreciation for law enforcement."
"Someone lost a loved one. Losing a love is always.... it pulls families together," Helen Moses said. "So we are mainly here for support."
Moses rode in from Columbia, Mississippi with friends to attend the "End of Watch" Memorial Ride. She said she was honored to be chosen to have Tate's mother ride with her.
"I think of how blessed we are to still be here and to be able to support others and encourage others," Moses said. "So many other families who have lost loved ones, so we are here mainly to support and for fellowship."
"It made us more aware," Dupree said. "We've had natural disasters and I put this in the same category as a man-made disaster. It really brought the community together, people took a look at our communities and first responders in what the response should really be."
The Hattiesburg Police Department presented the families of Deen and Tate with engraved watches, in memory of their loved ones.
Proceeds from the "End of Watch" Memorial Ride go to the "Benjamin J. Deen and Liquori Tate Memorial Scholarship Fund." The fund gives scholarships to Pine Belt law enforcement and families who have lost an officer or suffered a career-ending injury in the line of duty.