Police Arrest 6th Suspect In Ambush Of Officer, Fatally Shooting Him From Behind
Gulfport, MS – Police have arrested six people in connection with the murder of Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithan, who was assassinated in the line of duty outside the Biloxi Police Department (BPD) headquarters.
He has since been charged with capital murder for the death of the 24-year BPD veteran.
Five people – including two of Darian’s brothers – have been charged for aiding him after Officer McKeithan’s murder, the Associated Press reported.
Wanya Toquest Atkinson, 20, was charged with accessory after the fact on Wednesday, and is being held on $500,000 bond.
The same charge has been levied against a third brother, 21-year-old Davian Lewanika Atkinson, as well as 21-year-old Joshua Michael Kovach, 20-year-old Dalentez Latavian Brice, and 18-year-old Andre Sullivan.
Investigators said that Davian helped Darian after the killing by providing him with a cell phone and a getaway vehicle, WLOX reported.
Sullivan, Brice, and Kovach all gave Darian clothing after he killed the veteran officer, police said.
The shooting occurred just after 10 p.m. on May 5, when the on-duty, uniformed officer was approached by the gunman in the parking lot of the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center on Porter Avenue, Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Security footage showed the suspect, later identified as Darian, as he walked up behind Officer McKeithan and shot him multiple times, the Associated Press reported..
He then fled the scene.
The officer was rushed to Merit Health where he succumbed to his wounds just before midnight, WLOX reported.
“It’s a very sad day for the city of Biloxi,” Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said during a press conference. “[Officer] Robert McKeithan… was murdered last night, right here in our parking lot.”
“The animal that did this is still on the run,” Chief Miller said at the time.
“The assailant did enter the police department at one point,” Chief Miller noted, adding that the killer “seemed a bit nonchalant” about murdering the veteran officer.
Darian laughed and smiled as he was being escorted into the BPD after his arrest, WPMI reported.
“Oh, the police are mad at me,” the smirking suspect told reporters on his way into the building, according to the Sun Herald. “Murder.”
Biloxi police have also confirmed that Darian was suspended from Biloxi High School for three days in 2018, after he allegedly told a fellow student that he was contemplating “shooting up” the school, WMPI reported.
Officer McKeithan, a 24-year veteran of the BPD, was an “unbelievably fine policeman,” Chief Miller said.
“Robert was always a very pleasant person. I don’t remember him ever having a scowl on his face,” he added. “He had a style of his own… he just seemed to connect with people.”
He was also one of five officers who received the Medal of Valor for saving four special needs children who otherwise “undoubtedly would have perished,” the chief explained.
“That’s the kind of guy he was,” he said. “He was very gentle [and] likeable. He treated people with respect and dignity.”
Officer McKeithan, who was also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, planned to retire from the BPD at the end of 2019.
He leaves behind his wife, daughter, two stepsons, and a stepdaughter.
“He was a wonderful family man,” Chief Miller said. “I would ask that your prayers be with Robert and his family.”