Suspect indicted in shooting death of Biloxi Police officer McKeithen

Suspect indicted in shooting death of Biloxi Police officer McKeithen
Wearing a red jumpsuit, a smiling Darian Atkinson appeared in court Tuesday morning for his preliminary hearing.

HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The suspect accused of killing Biloxi Police officer Robert McKeithen was indicted by a Harrison County grand jury.

Darian Atkinson, 19, was arrested on a charge of capital murder in the shooting death of McKeithen that took place outside the Biloxi Police Department the night of May 5. Atkinson was arrested in Wiggins the next day when he was spotted by an officer headed home.

Atkinson first appeared before a judge May 8. Judge Brandon Ladner told him during the hearing that he was being charged because the crime was caught on video. Atkinson was also told the capital murder charge carried a maximum penalty of death.

Court documents said a man, who police have identified as Atkinson, walked behind the officer and fired multiple rounds, ultimately striking the officer. The document then says the suspect ran north through the parking lot and out of view of the camera.

Five other men were arrested in connection to the death facing charges of accessory after the fact. Wanya Atkinson, Davian Atkinson, Andre Sullivan Jr., Joshua Kovach and Dalentez Brice are accused of helping Darian Atkinson evade police.

McKeithen was a 24-year veteran of the Biloxi Police Department. In the days following his death, hundreds gathered outside the department to show their respect for the police force and McKeithen’s family.

“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 Biloxi Police Chief John Miller during a Tuesday vigil for McKeithen.

The indictment means enough evidence has been provided for the case to go to trial.

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