Sunday, May 10, 2015


Marvin Banks, Curtis Banks, and Joanie Calloway
  • Officers Benjamin Deen, 34, and Liquori Tate, 25 were shot and killed Saturday night in Hattiesburg
  • By Sunday, police captured Marvin Banks, 29, his 22-year-old girlfriend Joanie Calloway and Banks' 26-year-old brother, Curtis Banks
  • Marvin Banks and Calloway have each been charged with two counts of capital murder. Curtis Banks has been charged as an accessory 
  • It has been 30 years since a city officer was killed in the line of duty in Hattiesburg

The shooting death of two Mississippi police officers Saturday night during a traffic stop in Hattiesburg prompted a statewide manhunt that led to the arrests of three suspects, according to officials. 

Officer Liquori Tate 

Officer Benjamin Deen

Officer Benjamin Deen,34, had stopped a 2000 Gold Cadillac Escalade in an industrial part of the city at around 8:30 p.m. local time Saturday, said Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Officer Liquori Tate, 25, arrived afterward to assist him, shots were fired, and both officers were wounded.

Strain said both officers died of their injuries at a hospital. The officers’ deaths are reportedly the first for the Hattiesburg police force in 30 years
Strain said law enforcement agencies across the state launched a manhunt for the perpetrators, leading to the arrests of three suspects:  26-year-old Curtis Banks, his 29-year-old brother Marvin Banks, and 22-year-old Joanie Calloway.

Marvin Banks and Calloway have each been charged with two counts of capital murder, and Banks' brother Curtis has been charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of capital murder.

Strain says Marvin Banks was also charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and  with grand theft for fleeing in the police cruiser after the shooting.

He said officers arrested the three Hattiesburg residents at different locations overnight without resistance following Saturday night's deadly shooting.

Because authorities said the three were being held at undisclosed jails in the state, they could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately known if they had acquired lawyers.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant released a statement saying he was "mourning" the loss of the officers.
"This should remind us to thank all law enforcement for their unwavering service to protect and serve.  May God keep them all in the hollow of his hand," Bryant said.

The Hattiesburg American reports that Curtis Banks was brought to the Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop J headquarters Sunday at around 3 a.m. local time. His brother Marvin Banks was arrested about two hours earlier.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that as reporters were asking Curtis Banks if he had shot two of the Hattiesburg patrolmen, he blurted out “no sir, I didn’t do it.”

"All I know right now is that there was a traffic stop and someone started shooting at them and both of the officers were struck," Lt. Jon Traxler, a police department spokesman, said Saturday night. He said he didn't know how many shots were fired, or exactly by whom, adding that was now part of the investigation.

Traxler said the state's chief law enforcement agency, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, had taken up the probe of the shooting.  

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree told the Clarion-Ledger he lamented the deaths.

"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 said outside Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, where the officers were taken. 

The Clarion-Ledger reports Tate was a recent police academy graduate, while Deen was a K-9 officer who had been honored as the department's "Officer of the Year" in 2012.

Hattiesburg resident Tamika Mills was quoted by The Clarion-Ledger as saying some bystanders came upon the officers on the ground, and that one of the officers asked "... `Am I dying? I know I'm dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie,"' Mills told the paper.

She added, according to the account, that seeing the officers down was "shocking and heartbreaking."

The last Hattiesburg police officer killed in the line of duty was Sgt. Jackie Dole Sherrill, who died on New Year's Eve in 1984, according to police department records. Sherrill, 33, was gunned down as she attempted to serve a warrant on a suspect.

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