HATTIESBURG, Miss.–The murder of Hattiesburg Police Officers Benjamin Deen, 34, and Liquori Tate, 25, had calls for prayer going out across the country and throughout Mississippi Sunday and Monday morning. The mayor of Hattiesburg said he believes the community works well with law enforcement, and that’s why four people were arrested so quickly.
“We solve our crimes quickly, and we do that because our community works with our police department,” said Mayor Johnny Dupree in an appearance on FOX and Friends Sunday.
DUPREE AUDIO, COURTESY FOX
Monday afternoon at 1, a memorial is set for the two officers, who were shot to death after Deen pulled over Curtis and Marvin Banks and Joanie Calloway Saturday night. Tate was called in as backup and police say shots were fired as the two approached the car.
The memorial is at Lake Terrace Convention Center. It is the second event to honor the officers. A candlelight vigil was held Sunday night.
“For someone to just gun down a policeman without it having meaning to it, it just needs to stop,” said one Hattiesburg resident.
Another did not agree with Dupree’s assessment that the community and police work well together.
“I heard the sirens coming and I knew it was serious, cause police don’t come for gunshots, they come for bodies,” said witness Torsky Williams.
Dupree praised the work of the city police, though, during a Sunday press conference.
“We have a great relationship with our police. You can’t have these kind of events happen in our community and you solve them in a matter of hours,” said Dupree, who said community policing is the best way for police departments to get crimes solved quickly. He repeated the notion on his FOX appearance, but said he believes Mississippi gun laws are making a cop’s job harder.
“Mississippi just passed a couple of years ago, a concealed weapons law where you can carry your gun outside without a license, and now you can have it concealed in your purse or in your briefcase. Police have to be real vigilant now,” said Dupree.
“The vast majority of our police officers are excellent police officers. They go out there every day to protect us and for whatever reason we’re passing some kinds of laws that I don’t think are good for our country.”
Dupree said that a police shooting of this type has not happened in Hattiesburg in 30 years.
“What we need to do now is to celebrate the lives of these officers.”
That will also likely happen Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. outside the Gartain Supreme Court Building in Jackson at the annual Fallen Officers Candlelight Vigil.