SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Hundreds gathered Tuesday evening outside Biloxi Police Department, joining hands to remember the life of Officer Robert McKeithen.
People from the community, as well as McKeithen’s family and his ‘brothers in blue’ all bowed their heads to pray together, sharing memories of the kind of police officer McKeithen was.
With McKeithen’s wife and children sitting on the stage in a place of honor, Police Chief John Miller looked out on the crowd and reflected on the strength of the community.
“It’s a horrible, horrible thing but I stand here with a warm heart because I look at all of you and these gentlemen and these folks, and the strength that they have had is amazing to me,” said Chief Miller.
WATCH THE VIGIL IN FULL BELOW:
As law enforcement officers around South Mississippi mourn the loss of McKeithen, who was set to retire at the end of this year. Since his death, there has been an outpouring of support, with people leaving flowers and wreaths on top of his patrol car and inundating Biloxi Police and McKeithen’s family with condolences.
That kind of support is something that the coast has plenty of, said Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson.
“I’ve never see it any other way here. I’ve been to other places. I’ve been to other cities and states, especially speaking at different law enforcement events, and the community that we have here on the coast is the strongest that I’ve ever seen.”
Police say 19-year-old Darian Tawan Atkinson as the man who fatally shot McKeithen.
He is charged with capital murder. His brother Davian Atkinson, 21, is also charged with accessory after the fact in the officer’s death. Both are expected to appear in court Wednesday for their initial appearances.