Four people have been detained while two of them were charged with capital murder after they shot two Mississippi police officers when they were asked to pull over at a traffic stop in Hattiesburg on Saturday.
Marvin Banks, 29, and Joanie Calloway, 22, have been charged with two counts of capital murder each. Banks was also charged of possessing a firearm and grand theft for escaping in the police cruiser after the incident.
The remaining accused are Curtis Banks, 26, Marvin’s brother, charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of capital murder; and Cornelius Clark, 28, who rode with the accused and was charged with obstruction of justice. According to WDAM, Clark was arrested on Sunday afternoon.
The deceased policemen were Liquori Tate and decorated K9 officer Benjamin Deen. Tate had recently graduated from the academy while Deen was a decorated “Officer of the Year,” according to Yahoo News.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said, “This should remind us to thank all law enforcement for their unwavering service to protect and serve. May God keep them all in the hollow of his hand.”
Curtis was detained and brought in to the Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop J headquarters at 3 a.m. on Sunday, Hattiesburg American reports.
According to Jackson Clarion-Ledger, when asked whether he had fatally shot two policemen, Curtis said, “No sir, I didn’t do it.”
The accused were transported “to undisclosed jails outside Forrest County to await their initial appearances” in the Forrest County Justice Court on Monday. The bodies of the deceased policemen have been taken for autopsies to the medical examiner’s office.
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said that a vigil will be conducted for Deen and Liquori on Monday.
He said, “We’re a community. We’re family.
“And we’re going to grieve together through this.”
According to CNN, it was the first time in 30 years that a police officer was killed in the line of duty in Hattiesburg.
Erica Sherrill Owens, who attended high school with Deen, said the news came as a shock.
“Then when I heard one of the names, my heart just sank because I went to high school with him,” she said.
Owens had graduated from the Sumrall High School a year after Deen.
DuPree said, “The men and women who go out every day to make sure that we are safe were turned on.”
Tate had graduated from the academy in June 2014.
His excitement at achieving this milestone was evident from a Facebook post.
“I graduated the Police Academy today,” he had written.
“I am now a Police Officer. I would like to thank God, the Police Academy, the Police Department, my family, friends, and love ones.”
He hadn’t been in the force for even a year when he was shot down by the suspects.
Ronald Tate, Liquori’s father, posted on his Facebook timeline, which had filled with condolences, that he was in a “dizzy state” since 10:11 p.m. on Saturday.
“My heart has been ripped out of my chest, and torn into a million pieces,” he said. “Gotta get down to MS where my daughter is. She’s absolutely devastated. He was clearly her protector, and friend.”
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