A routine traffic stop turned deadly for two Mississippi police officers Saturday — and two brothers and a woman have been arrested.
The shooting started about 8:30 p.m., when a Hattiesburg police officer pulled a vehicle over and called another officer to assist, according to news reports.
Details of what occurred then were unvailable, but two passing motorists discovered the officers on the ground afterwards and called 911.
Officers Benjamin Deen, 34, and Liquori Tate, 25, died shortly after being admitted to a local hospital, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
The Ledger’s Therese Apel tweeted:
Tonight two families have lost their loved ones in the line of duty, performing a noble job few want to do anymore. pic.twitter.com/aEQggz5TwK
— Therese Apel (@TRex21) May 10, 2015
Brothers Curtis Banks, 26, and Marvin Banks, 29, were arrested early Sunday morning and were brought in for questioning by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. Hattiesburg’s WDAM-TV reporter Ryan Moore tweeted:
Both have a prior record as offenders in the City of Hattiesburg. pic.twitter.com/6wBUs2Ecpm
— Ryan Moore (@RyanMooreMS) May 10, 2015
The Clarion-Ledger reported:
Lamar County authorities arrested Marvin Banks at a motel shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday. His vehicle, a Hyundai Azera Limited with retired Army military license plate, was taken to Troop J [of the Mississippi Highway Patrol].
Curtis Banks was arrested around 3 a.m. at an apartment complex.
Curtis Banks replied, “no sir I didn’t do it” when asked if he killed the 2 HPD officers. #WDAM pic.twitter.com/GH23YBKxx7
— Ryan Moore (@RyanMooreMS) May 10, 2015
A third suspect, an unidentified woman who was allegedly in the Banks’ car during the shooting, was later arrested.
The paper reported:
Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said one officer stopped a 2000 Gold Cadillac Escalade in an industrial corridor about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, a second officer arrived to assist him and shots were fired.
Hattiesburg residents Tamika Mills and Pearnell Roberts discovered the two officers who had been shot. The pair got out to check on the officers and called 9-1-1.
“Never in my life have I experienced or seen anything like this except on TV, and to be in the midst of it, it’s shocking and heartbreaking. As we were coming down Fourth Street, we noticed a bunch of lights. As we came on through, (Roberts) told me to turn around because she saw somebody laying on the ground,” Mills told the paper.
“So I backed up. That’s when we noticed the officer was down. We just saw that one, but in the course of me being on the phone with 9-1-1, I turned and I saw another officer across the street rolling on the ground. [Roberts] ran across the street to check on him. He wasn’t all the way alert but he asked her, ‘Am I dying? I know I’m dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie.'”
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree issued a statement during a brief news conference outside the hospital after the two officers were pronounced dead by the county coroner.
“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,” DuPree told reporters. “But the person or persons who did this are not safe in the City of Hattiesburg.”
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