WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLOX) - With Congress in session this week, several of Mississippi’s representatives took time this week to publicly honor fallen Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen.
Thursday, 4th District Congressman Steven Palazzo led the House of Representatives in a moment of silence to honor McKeithen’s service and sacrifice. He was joined by 2nd District Representative Bennie Thompson, 1st District Representative Trent Kelly, and Representative Michael Guest from Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District.
Before the moment of silence, Palazzo delivered the following remarks:
"I rise today along with my fellow members of the Mississippi delegation to express the sorrow and grief within our hearts. This week, the city of Biloxi lost one of our Law Enforcement officers at the hands of senseless violence.
"Officer Robert McKeithen’s end of watch was on May 5, 2019, when he was killed in the line of duty less than an hour after helping a Biloxi man out of his wrecked car. McKeithen was an Air Force veteran who served our Biloxi Police Department for nearly 24 years. He was a family man who leaves behind a wife and children. During his time as an officer, McKeithen became known for his selfless acts to put those in our community first. Particularly, he was awarded the Medal of Valor for his heroic actions during Hurricane Katrina where he went out of his way to save the lives of a family trapped in their home while the flood waters were rising.
"We have come to expect our law enforcement officers to run to the dangers we civilians run from. They choose to keep our families and neighborhoods safe never knowing if they will return home to their own families when their shift ends.
"Our community now comes together in a time of grief, mourning the loss of our fallen hero.
“Madam Speaker, at this time I ask the House to join me in a moment of silence to honor the life and service of Officer Robert McKeithen. If the House would please rise.
Thank you, Madam Speaker."
Mississippi’s Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith also honored Officer McKeithen in her first major speech on the Senate floor Thursday. Most of her address focused on recent flooding and storm damage across Mississippi, but before that she used her “Maiden Speech” to honor the fallen Biloxi officer.
“First and foremost, to honor Officer Robert McKeithen, a 24-year decorated veteran of the Biloxi Police Department, who lost his life in the line of duty this past Sunday night, May 5th. Officer McKeithen was described by his chief as ‘an unbelievably fine policeman.’ He was an Air Force veteran, a husband and a father, who dedicated his life to serving the people of Biloxi, my state, and our nation. His loss is a tragedy, and a stark reminder that law enforcement officers risk their lives daily to keep us safe. Officer McKeithen’s family, colleagues and friends certainly have my deepest sympathy," Hyde-Smith said.
It is a tradition in the Senate for new members to wait a period of time before speaking on the floor. Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate seat exactly one year and one month ago, then won the seat in a special election last year.