Police Officer Months Away from Retiring Shot to Death after Helping at a Wreck
A Mississippi officer was the sole victim of a shooting that took place on Sunday night. His department and wife are now mourning the heart-wrenching loss while police have a suspect in custody
Robert McKeithen served in the Biloxi Police Department for 24 years before his untimely death on May 5, 2019. His final act of serving a citizen was a reflection of what he was known for throughout his tenure on the force.
Less than an hour before being killed, MkKeithen rescued a 22-year-old driver who fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed his car. According to the Sun Herald, he told the man, Damon Corrigan, that he was "lucky to be alive."
Corrigan recalled the moment he was saved on the Biloxi Bay bridge. His Ford Mustang didn't survive the crash. He said of McKeitehn that "he was so nice," before adding how bad he felt about the death.
After being a hero once more, McKeithen left Corrigan to go to the Lopez Quave Public Safety center to address a flat tire. That's when he was approached by a gunman who fired several shots and killed him.
Darian Atkinson from Biloxi, 19, faces a capital murder charge for the shooting. Surveillance video reportedly recorded as he approached McKeithen from behind and fired the fatal shots.
The fallen officer had received some awards for his service over the years, but he also had a family that he was there for every day. His wife, Pamela McKeithen, reportedly said that her husband loved his job and was proud of it.
According to Fox News, she explained in a video:
"Besides his family, that was his life. He took meticulous care of his uniforms, like 'Don't touch it. I've got this.' He was going to make sure everything is in its place on his uniform. He would iron it every day, shine his boots."
After the horrific event, Biloxi Police Chief John Miller revealed that McKeithen planned to retire at year-end. While his wife spoke about his job, Miller commented on McKeithen's dedication to his family.
"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."
Quite disturbingly, McKeithen's alleged killer reportedly smiled as he entered the Harrison County Jail courtroom on Wednesday for Sunday's crime.
Dalentez Brice, 20, and Joshua Kovach, 21, were also arrested for what happened and charged with accessory after the fact. They are being held without bond, as is Atkinson.
Meanwhile, another slain officer's widowed wife learned she was pregnant only three days following her late husband's funeral. Caroline Rittner lost her husband Matthew Rittner to a shooting in February 2019.
Matthew died in the line of duty as he was out executing a search warrant the time of his death. In early May, his wife revealed that she found out she was pregnant with the couple's second child just days after the funeral. Matthew also left behind a son.