Across Mississippi flags are still flying at half-staff today in honor of the two officers that were shot and killed during a traffic stop in Hattiesburg last weekend. The death of officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate are among the latest in a growing number of Mississippi's law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty.
Hundreds gathered on the lawn just north of the Capitol last night to remember the more than 220 officers who lost their lives protecting the residents of the Magnolia state. Participants lit candles and surviving family members placed roses on a memorial to commemorate their loss.
Donielle Street is the wife of the late John Robert Street, a George County Sheriff's Deputy who died while responding to a traffic accident last year.
"You don't really understand a person’s pain going through a situation like this unless you go through it," says Street. "It's the most worst pain that you will ever feel in your whole life, and it never goes away. It never gets easier. It just stays there."
While the service honors all law enforcement officials that have laid down their lives, it specifically recognizes the officers that were killed during the past year. But Governor Phil Bryant says it's difficult not to focus on the two officers who were killed just a few days ago.
"It's just heartbreaking to reflect on the loss on May the 9th," Bryant says. "So looking at their families, it's very personal, but also it's a time to reflect on all of those whose names appear on this wall and do all that we can to make sure that it never happens again."
Over the past five years, Mississippi has been consistently ranked among the deadliest states in the nation for law enforcement officials.