A man and woman in Mississippi were arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after the deaths of two police officers who were shot dead a day earlier during a routine traffic stop in Hattiesburg, officials said.
Authorities had conducted a manhunt after at least one suspect ran away from the scene of the shooting in a police car later found abandoned. Residents of the city 80 miles southeast of Jackson were told to stay indoors during the operation.
According to police, Marvin Banks, 29, and Joanie Calloway, 22, were each charged with two counts of capital murder. Banks’ brother, Curtis, was also taken into custody and charged with two accounts of accessory to capital murder.
State court records show that the Banks brothers were arrested multiple times previously as felons for firearms charges. Calloway had been driving the Escalade during the time of the shooting.
Police also stated that a fourth man, Cornelius Clark, was arrested later on Sunday in connection with the case and is set to be charged with obstruction to justice. The suspects were arrested in different locations throughout the city.
Mayor Johnny DuPree credited the public for helping bring to justice those responsible for the killing of the police officers. “The community helped us,” he said, without sharing further. “No parent wants to bury their child before them. And here we are on Mothers’ Day. It’s a tragedy for all America,” he said.
The shooting took place on Saturday evening after Officer Benjamin Deen, 34, stopped a gold Cadillac Escalade with Liquori Tate, a 25-year-old who recently graduated from the police academy, arriving at the scene as reinforcement.
Two civilians later called for help after finding the wounded officers, who were pronounced dead upon arriving at a hospital in Hattiesburg.
In a statement to a news conference, DuPree said it was too early to determine a possible motive for the shooting and that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is currently looking into the case.
“We know the officer called for backup for a reason … we’ll find that out,” he stated. “We will not jeopardize this investigation by guessing.”
The Officer Down Memorial Page, a non-profit organization that tracks the deaths of police officers in the line of duty, listed Deen and Tate as the ninth and tenth law enforcement officers shot and killed by assailants this year.