The City of Hattiesburg is in mourning after two police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty over the weekend.
More than one thousand residents from Hattiesburg crowded into the Lake Terrace Convention Center yesterday as part of a memorial service in honor of Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate. The two officers were killed after making traffic stop Saturday evening. Hattiesburg Police Chief Frazier Bolton says the last few days have been difficult.
"We are angered at life's unfairness, but by God's divine protection we are comforted," says Bolton. "These officers have touched our lives with devotion, commitment and the ultimate sacrifice."
Also in attendance were hundreds of law enforcement officials from across the state. Hattiesburg Police Officer Monica Dobbins says the support she’s received from other law enforcement officials as well as from residents of the Hub City has been a blessing.
"It brings us closer as a family in law enforcement and it pretty much opens up our eyes and realize that what we do it is tough, it is hard and as long as we stick together we'll make it," Dobbins says. "It just brings our bond even closer."
The four defendants suspected of killing both Deen and Tate were moved to the Forrest County Correctional Facility, yesterday to hear the charges being leveled against them.
Dressed in orange jumpsuits, the defendants charged with killing Hattiesburg Police Officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate were led individually into the Forrest County Justice Court.
The suspected shooter, 29-year-old Marvin Banks was charged with two counts of capital murder, along grand theft auto and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He isn’t eligible for bond.
The other three suspects were charged with obstruction of justice or accessory after the fact. They face bonds that range between 75 and 100 thousand dollars.
Department of Public Safety Spokesman Warren Strain says this is the first step toward justice.
"There have been several boxes of evidence submitted to the crime laboratory, and it will take a couple of weeks if not a month or so to process all of that evidence because [there] is a good bit of it. Once all of that plays out we'll get the reports back. It'll be put into a composite which will, in turn, become the case file."
The four suspects have been remanded to the custody of the Forrest County Sherriff’s Office. The Department of Public Safety has taken over the investigation.