Two Mississippi Police Officers Killed, Suspects In Custody

Two Mississippi police officers were killed Saturday during a routine traffic stop in the southern Mississippi city of Hattiesburg, which elicited a statewide manhunt early Sunday for two suspects who were subsequently arrested.

The Associated Press reports that a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, Warren Strain, said the two Mississippi police officers killed made a routine traffic stop around 8:30 p.m. CDT Saturday night.

Benjamin Deen, 34, and 25-year-old Liquori Tate were identified as the two Mississippi police officers killed, according to Lt. Jon Traxler.

The two Mississippi police officers killed are the first deaths on the Hattiesburg police force in 30 years, according to the AP.

Strain spoke with the AP by phone early Sunday and described the scene immediately following the fatal shooting.

“The shooting occurred near an area of apartment houses and that officers had told people immediately afterward to ‘take shelter’ while they searched for two suspects.”

Strain said the two Mississippi police officers died as a result of their injuries at a local hospital.

A statewide manhunt ensued for two brothers accused of shooting the police officers. The suspects, who were subsequently arrested, are identified as Curtis Banks, 26, and his 29-year-old brother, Marvin Banks.

The two were taken to Troop J of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, where they are being questioned by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

Trailer described what happened when the two Mississippi police officers were killed.

“All I know right now is that there was a traffic stop and someone started shooting at them and both of the officers were struck.”

Law enforcement agencies swooped in following the shooting to canvas the area to look for the suspects and try to determine the circumstances of the shooting deaths.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree spoke with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and said the police officers killed were just doing their job.

“The men and women who go out every day to protect us, the men and woman who go out every day to make sure that we’re safe, they were turned on (Saturday) night.”

According to the Clarion-Ledger, Tate was a recent police academy graduate and Deen was a K-9 officer, who was the police department’s “Officer of the Year” in 2012.

A Hattiesburg resident, Tamika Mills, told the Clarion-Ledger that bystanders came upon the officers on the ground and that one of them spoke.

“Am I dying? I know I’m dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie.”

Mills told the paper that seeing the two Mississippi police officers killed lying in the street before they died was “shocking and heartbreaking.”

[Photos via Mississippi State Police]