A man and woman were charged today in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, murder of two police officers. Marvin Banks, 29, and Joanie Calloway, 22, were charged with two counts of capital murder. Curtis Banks, 26, was also arrested and charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of capital murder according to police. The two police officers were shot during a routine traffic stop Saturday evening.
Routine Traffic Stop Turns Deadly
Police officer, Benjamin Dean, 34, had stopped a gold Cadillac Escalade and had called Liquori Tate, 25 for backup. Tate had recently graduated from the police academy. According to police representatives, Calloway had been driving the Cadillac that was stopped for speeding. The reason the arriving officer called for back up is not being released due to the sensitivity of the investigation.
After the Mississippi shooting, Marvin Banks fled in a patrol car that was later found abandoned a few blocks away. There is a fourth suspect, Cornelius Clark, 28 of Hattiesburg, who has been arrested for obstruction of justice. All four of the charged are expected to make their first appearance before the court, Monday, at the Forest County Justice Court in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. All four were found with the cooperation of the public in a massive manhunt.
Officers Found By Passers By
Two Hattiesburg, Mississippi residents were driving by the industrial area where the shooting took place and noticed lights flashing. Tamika Mills and Pearnell Roberts saw a body lying on the street, got out and saw that it was a wounded officer; immediately calling 911. One of the wounded officers was reported to have asked Roberts if he was dying, and pleaded for his walkie-talkie. One officer died on the scene and the other died after being transported to a nearby hospital. This heinous event marks the first time a police officer has been killed in the line of duty in Hattiesburg, Mississippi since the 1984 New Year’s Eve killing of Jackie Dole Sherrill, while attempting to serve a warrant.
Hattiesburg Community Reeling
The shooting deaths of these police officers have the small town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi in shock. In most recent years, the Mississippi town has endured several storms and tornadoes but nothing as shocking as these cold-blooded murders. On Sunday morning, blood stains from the slaying marked the street near New Hope Baptist Church, where members gathered to pray for the officers and their surviving families. From his office in Jackson, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant reminded the public of the level of commitment that these well-respected officers exemplify as they serve and protect.
Incident Shows Strained Relationship Between Police and Public
With the arrest of a Mississippi man and woman for the murder of these police officers, the strain between the public and those commissioned to protect it is painfully obvious. With the most routine traffic stop, the risk of escalating confrontation is high. Authorities are on edge from the Ferguson, MO and Baltimore police shootings. Experts are concerned that this heightened alertness is making officers reluctant to ready their service weapons in time to accommodate risk. Distrust by the public is at an all-time high. As a result, criminal elements routinely exploit this tension, as seen in unrelated protestors looting or destroying property as police are told to stand down. This small Mississippi town tries to recover from the weekend’s confrontation as a man and woman are charged with capital murder in the death of two policemen.
By Chris Marion
Headline image by zachary o – Creativecommons Flickr License
Inline Image (1) by John Candy – Creativecommons Flickr License
Inline Image (2) by Kristin Brenemen – Creativecommons Flickr License