BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It will be one of the biggest funeral processions the city of Biloxi has seen in years, as Officer Robert McKeithen is celebrated and laid to rest.
As it makes its way throughout the city, it will cause some significant delays.
Officials want you to be safe while honoring the life of a treasured public servant.
“Officer McKeithen seems to have been the epitome of what you would want to see in a police officer,” said Vincent Creel, Biloxi public affairs manager. “He was well liked, was professional, he was compassionate.”
The 24-year veteran was shot to death on May 5 outside the Biloxi Police Department, and now, thousands will be able to give McKeithen a final salute.
Services will begin at 12:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Biloxi.
“And when this procession begins at 1:45, it’s going to take a 12-mile route through the city,” Creel said. “It’s going to touch all of our major streets, that being Popp’s Ferry, Cedar Lake, I-10, I-110, Highway 90.”
It will also affect other streets as well.
“At some point, it will shut down Irish Hill on the western end. It’s going to shut down Pass Road when crossing Pass Road to get into the National Cemetery," Creel said. "What we’re asking people is be patient. Public transit will probably be running late. School buses will probably be running late.”
For the thousands who want to see the procession, Creel has this advice.
“What we’re telling people, if you want to stand along the route, remember three things: No. 1, be aware of your surroundings, don’t park in traffic; No. 2, be respectful of people’s private property, we can’t tell you to park on somebody’s private property; and No. 3, park legally.”
Creel added that this outpouring is a reflection of who McKeithen was.
“Everything I’ve heard about him just makes me brim with pride, as it does with so many other people in Biloxi. The people in the police department and the family of Officer McKeithen, they all knew this. Now the rest of the city is getting some insight into who this person was," Creel said.
Assisting in the route will be Gulfport and D’Iberville Police departments, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Officials said parking for those wanting to attend the visitation beginning at 9:30 will be at the Cedar-Popp’s Shopping Center where a shuttle will take visitors to the church.
WLOX ABC will broadcast the funeral service beginning at 12:30 p.m., along with the procession and graveside service at the Biloxi National Cemetery afterwards.