BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - People from across the country showed up Monday to pay tribute to slain Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen as the city said its final farewell.
A procession that included hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the country showed up to pay respects to their fallen brother in blue.
The day began with an honor guard made up of 12 volunteers from the Biloxi Police Department and Biloxi Fire Department who escorted McKeithen’s body from the funeral home to First Baptist Church. That’s where the community gathered to say goodbye to one of Biloxi’s finest.
During the service, people who knew McKeithen remembered him with heartfelt stories and anecdotes. Among them were Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, who brought many to tears when he said he likes to think that McKeithen is still serving and protecting those he loves but from a better place.
“The loves that he knew, the friendships he made, the people he helped, the lives he changed, the lives he saved, and the good times he had, those things can’t be murdered or destroyed or erased," said an emotional Chief Miller. "They have already happened, already been done and will be a part of this world forever. Even if forgotten over time, they’ll still be present forever in the humanity that we show towards one another.”
Standing at the front of the church holding a coffee mug that said “Robocop,” McKeithen’s immediate supervisor and longtime friend Lt. Thomas Goldsworthy told about McKeithen’s late-night habit of stopping for coffee at the Waffle House. Goldsworthy smiled as he remembered his friend, saying McKeithen was always a good sport when fellow officers poked fun at him for being the oldest on their shift.
Goldsworthy recalled a bet that was made, in which McKeithen would have to shave his mustache if he lost. Since that bet can’t be finished, Goldsworthy said he and the rest of officers will grow out their mustaches for the next 30 days in honor of McKeithen.
The 12-mile procession brought traffic to a standstill on I-10 as it headed east to I-110 then south Highway 90. People lined the roads, solemnly waving American flags as the parade of law enforcement vehicles passed them by.
The procession came to an end at Biloxi National Cemetery, where the Patriot Guard waited to help escort McKeithen’s flag-draped coffin to its final resting place.
McKeithen was buried with full military honors, including a color guard and 21-gun salute.