Pair face murder charges as two police shot dead
A man and woman in Mississippi were charged with murder last night after two police officers were shot dead a day earlier while conducting a routine traffic stop in Mississippi.
Authorities in Hattiesburg had launched a manhunt after at least one suspect fled the scene of the shooting in a police car later found abandoned, and residents in the city about 130km southeast of Jackson were told to stay indoors.
Marvin Banks (29) and Joanie Calloway (22) were each charged with two counts of capital murder.
Banks' brother Curtis (26), was also arrested and charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of capital murder.
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said members of the public quickly helped bring to justice those behind the first killing of a police officer in the city for more than 30 years.
"The community helped us," he said, without elaborating. "No parent wants to bury their child before them. And here we are on Mothers' Day. It's a tragedy for all America," he said.
The shooting happened on Saturday evening after Officer Benjamin Deen (34) stopped a gold Cadillac Escalade, and Liquori Tate, a 25-year-old recent police academy graduate, arrived as back-up.
Two civilians called for help after finding the wounded officers. They were pronounced dead at a hospital in Hattiesburg.
Mr DuPree said it was too early to discuss a possible motive, and that a probe by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was ongoing.
"We know the officer called for back-up for a reason... we'll find that out," he said. "We will not jeopardise this investigation by guessing."
State court records showed the Banks brothers are felons with multiple arrests for firearms charges.
Mr DuPree said Calloway had been driving the Escalade at the time of the shooting. The suspects were arrested in different locations in Hattiesburg.
The killings are another reminder of the dangers of police work and comes as law enforcement faces heavy criticism over the use of lethal force, especially against minority groups.
Deen and Tate are the ninth and 10th law enforcement officers in the United States shot and killed by assailants in 2015.