Robert McKeithen was an “unbelievably fine” police officer who planned to retire at the end of this year, the chief of police in Biloxi, Mississippi, said.
But those plans were cut short Sunday night when he was gunned down in the parking lot of police headquarters.
Around 10 p.m., McKeithen was shot multiple times outside the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center, Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said during a press conference Monday morning.
First responders transported the officer to the emergency room. Miller said he arrived at the hospital just before midnight to the news that McKeithen had paid the ultimate price, CNN affiliate WLOX reports.
The killer is “still on the run and we’re going to do everything in our power to bring him to justice,” Miller said.
Police published a video of a suspect believed to be his late teens or early twenties. While not many details were given about the suspect, Chief Miller said the gunman did enter the police station at some point but didn’t elaborate on whether it was before or after the shooting.
The motive for the shooting is still unclear, however authorities did not rule out this being a random attack.
A decorated officer and family man
McKeithen was an “unbelievably fine policeman” who had served the department for almost 24 years, Miller said.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, McKeithen and four other officers received a medal of valor for saving four special needs children “who undoubtedly would have perished” without them, Miller added.
He leaves behind “a wife, a daughter, two stepsons, and a stepdaughter,” Miller said. “He was a wonderful family man. That’s where he spent all of his time, with his family.”
Biloxi Mayor Andrew Gilich told WLOX police officers are people who “will lay down their lives for you.”
He said officers knowingly reported for duty knowing they “may not come back from a shift, and that’s scary. But that also tells you something about the person that does this. And of course Robert was that kind of person.”