Biloxi police officer killed Sunday night

Officer Robert McKeithen (Photo Source: WLOX-TV)

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) -- Officer Robert McKeithen, a 24-year veteran of Biloxi Police Department, has been identified as the officer who was killed Sunday night outside the city’s public safety building.

Authorities held a news conference at 9 a.m. Monday to update the public on the shooting.

“It’s a very sad day for the City of Biloxi. A 24-year veteran for our department Robert McKeithen - and there’s no easy way to say this - was murdered last night right here in our parking lot," said Biloxi Police Chief John Miller. “Robert was an unbelievably fine policeman. He did a great job; took care of the citizens of Biloxi for almost 24 years.”

McKeithen died just after 10 p.m. after being shot multiple times outside the police headquarters, according to the chief.

“Robert was planning on retiring at the end of the year,” said Chief Miller. “He leaves behind a wife, two stepsons, and a stepdaughter. He was a wonderful family man. That’s where he spent all of his time, with his family. He was a very gentle man for a policeman, a likable man who treated people with respect and dignity, and we’re going to miss him sorely.”

Authorities are looking for the man accused of shooting the officer outside the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center on Porter Avenue. That’s the main headquarters for the Biloxi Police Department.

According to Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, first responders rushed the officer to Merit Health. That’s where the chief was just before midnight when he received the news that the officer had died in the emergency room.

Investigators say the suspect approached McKeithen outside the building in the parking lot, opening fire and shooting the officer multiple times. McKeithen was on-duty and in uniform at the time, said the chief.

“The animal that did this is still on the run. and we’re going to do everything within our power to bring him to justice for Robert and his family and for the men and women in the police department and for the citizens of Biloxi,” said Chief Miller.

The suspect entered the police department, said Chief Miller. Authorities released surveillance photos that were captured from him entering the building.

They also released a description of the suspect, saying he is a thin man between 5′7″ and 5′10″. When he approached the officer, he was wearing a black T-shirt, navy blue shorts and a rolled up red skull beanie. He also had dark high tops with red heel caps.

Authorities are asking the public for any information that may help identify the suspect or lead to his whereabouts. During Monday’s press conference, Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers said they are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.