Biloxi police officer gunned down outside station, rewards grow to $35,000

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Biloxi Police Department

Officer Robert McKeithen’s patrol unit at the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center has become a makeshift memorial.

A 24-year veteran Biloxi police officer was gunned down Sunday night outside the police station there setting off an intense manhunt.

A post on the Biloxi Police Department’s website said Monday that Officer Robert McKeithen was slain in front of the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center around 10 p.m.

Police Chief John Miller remembered McKeithen as “an unbelievably fine policeman.” A reward has been offered in the case.

The department’s online post went on to say:

Biloxi Patrolman Robert McKeithen

McKeithen, 58, a husband and father of three who was planning to retire at the end of this year, “had a style of his own,” said Miller who earlier in his career had responded to calls with McKeithen. “He just seemed to connect with people. That is not always easy in our business, but he had a knack for connecting with folks and having them connect with him.”

Miller was somber as he spoke during a press conference in front of the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center this morning, just steps away from where McKeithen was fatally shot Sunday night shortly after 10 p.m. Miller said the Gulfport Police Department would lead the investigation into McKeithen’s slaying, which Miller called “a murder” by “an animal.” Sunday night, Biloxi Police officers were joined by officers from neighboring agencies in responding to the incident. Police are continuing to search for the gunman.

McKeithen is survived by his wife, a daughter, two stepsons, and a stepdaughter. He was planning on retiring from the department later this year.

Go here to visit the department’s website.

The Sun Herald had this report: BILOXI – An emotional police chief spent Monday morning sharing the somber news of the killing of a nearly 24-year veteran officer in the parking lot of the police station on Porter Avenue.

Chief John Miller, his voice shaking at times, said  Officer Robert McKeithen died after the suspect walked up to the uniformed officer and shot him near his police SUV, parked just feet from the front door of the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center.

“It’s a very sad day for the city of Biloxi,” Miller said, adding there’s no easy way to say what happened other than the officer “was murdered right here in our parking lot.”

Read the complete Sun Herald article by Margaret Baker, Alyssa Newton, Justin Michell and Anita Lee here.