Locals pay respect to two murdered Hattiesburg officers
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 12, 2015
The city of Hattiesburg held a memorial service for fallen Hattiesburg police officers Benjamin J. Deen and Liquori Tate on Monday at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg.
The center was crowded with grieving family members, local, state and federal officials, including law enforcement, all honoring the two men who were killed in the line of duty during a Saturday night traffic stop.
34-year-old Deen served 11 years in law enforcement while 25-year-old Tate was in his first year as an officer, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute to the life and dedicated work of both of these officers.It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the heroes who were taken away too suddenly and far too soon,” DuPree said.
Hattiesburg Police Officer Jason Jarvis spoke eloquently about his colleague Tate.
“One thing is for certain, Tate was going to be a police officer and nothing was going to get in the way of that. He gave the ultimate sacrifice by backing up a police officer,” Jarvis said.
Hattiesburg Police Department Capt. Peggy Sealy also shared kind words about Dean.
“Dean loved the area he was assigned to and the people knew him there. Dean was proud to wear the badge and he never dishonored it,” Sealy said.
Deen and Tate were gunned down Saturday night after conducting a traffic stop. Three men and a woman have been charged in the fatal shooting, including the alleged shooter, 29 year-old Marvin Banks, Joanie Calloway, 22, Curtis Banks, 26, and Cornelius Clark, 28. Banks and Calloway were charged with two counts of capital murder while Curtis was charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of murder and Cornelius for obstruction of justice, according to the Hattiesburg American.
Banks was transported to the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Detention Facility, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Shane Tucker said.
The vigil’s guest speaker was Gregory Davis, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. He spoke about the importance of respecting law enforcement.
“It is a calling to serve their communities and cities with fearless determination and a dedication to justice. The men and women who wear the uniform are a beacon of light in a sometimes dark world,” Davis said.
In honor of the fallen heroes, the city has created a memorial legacy fund called the Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation, DuPree said.
Local law enforcement from the Picayune Police Department attended the vigil, including Officer Brandon Penton, Lieutenant Gary Wilton along with Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins from Saint Barnabas Anglican Church in Picayune.
“Blue lives matter,” Penton said.
Filkins added that it’s important to support law enforcement officers nationwide.
“It’s an absolute necessity to join all those who support law enforcement and to help with the grieving process whether in Hattiesburg or Seattle,” Filkins said.
Several members from the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department also attended.
After the speeches, city, state and federal officials gave their condolences to the respective families.