Police assassination update: two dead in Mississippi

My apologies for starting off your Mothers Day with such horrible news, but two more law enforcement officers have been assassinated, this time in Mississippi. It’s barely twelve hours since the incident, but it seems as if the local police in Hattiesburg were all over the case and two suspects are already in custody. Fox News is reporting that the manhunt for two brothers, Curtis and Marvin Banks, was over in a matter of hours and they were taken into custody with no further injury to the police.

Two suspects accused of killing two Mississippi police officers Saturday night were reportedly arrested early Sunday morning.

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

A Hattiesburg Police Department spokesman, Lt. Jon Traxler told The Associated Press the officers who died were 34-year-old Benjamin Deen and 25-year-old Liquori Tate.

Liquori Tate was a rookie who graduated from the Police Academy last June. Benjamin Deen was an experienced K-9 officer who was honored as the Hattiesburg Officer of the Year in 2012.

The Banks brothers are, as citizens, innocent until proven guilty, but the initial reports sound as if the cops had this case sussed out pretty quickly. The incident began with a traffic stop, and if the first officer on the scene was following anything close to standard procedures, he had already called in the plates of the vehicle along with the identification of at least the driver. By the time the second officer arrived on the scene to provide backup, most of the details should have been available. Also, as the The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports, the brothers were already well known to local law enforcement, having lengthy rap sheets.

Authorities arrested Curtis Banks, 26, and Marvin Banks, 29, early Sunday morning. The two were taken to Troop J of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, where they were to be questioned by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation…

Both men have multiple arrests for weapons and gun charges, and both have felony convictions.

A third suspect, an unidentified woman, was also taken into custody. Authorities said she was in the car with the Banks brothers at the time of the shooting.

The Hattiesburg American reports that Curtis Banks was still shouting, “No sir, I didn’t do it,” even as he was being taken in, so we’ll have to wait to see if that turns into a Not Guilty plea at trial.

The deaths of these officers were neither quick nor painless. A passerby found both officers down and called 911 for help. At least one of the officers was still alive when the Samaritan stopped to help and was speaking.

“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.

“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.'”

Mississippi does have the death penalty for capital crimes, which as I’ve said repeatedly should be the default sentence for anyone killing a police officer in the line of duty. The last person executed there was Gary Carl Simmons in 2012.

This is one more tragic reminder of the dangerous job that police officers do in the cause of serving and protecting the public, holding back the tide of chaos. Our thoughts and prayers should be with the families and friends of these officers. Sadly, not everyone feels that way these days and anti-cop sentiments have been on the rise in far too many places. These poisonous trends are trumpeted by the media all too often. I suppose this famous young “lady” has two more heroes this morning.