Suspect captured in killings of officer, woman in Miss.

Dante Marquez Bender, 31, is wanted in connection with the deaths of a police officer and a...
Dante Marquez Bender, 31, is wanted in connection with the deaths of a police officer and a woman found at the scene of a shooting June 9, 2022, on 51st Avenue in Meridian, Mississippi.(State of Mississippi)
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 10:35 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 2:04 PM EDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK/Gray News) - The suspect in the killings of a police officer and a woman in Mississippi has been taken into custody Friday, officials said.

Officials said Meridian Officer Kennis Croom was fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call Thursday. Officials identified the slain woman as Brittany Jones, who was engaged to the suspect, Dante Marquez Bender.

The killings set off a multi-agency manhunt for Bender, 31, who law enforcement considered to be armed and dangerous.

Meridian Police Chief Deborah Young expressed her sadness over the “tragic and senseless” loss of life while speaking at a news conference Friday. She said Croom, working on his scheduled day off, was first on the scene to respond to the call, and a second officer who responded found Croom down.

“To his family, we are praying for you,” Young said. “I know there are no words to ease your pain.”

She called Croom the definition of a true hero and said his legacy will live on.

Bender was taken into custody in the town of Ackerman, located about 80 miles north of Meridian, officials said.

Authorities say Bender previously worked as a police officer in Newton, Mississippi, Associated Press reported.

Croom had been with the department since October, previously worked with the Jackson Police Department and was originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. WBRC reported Croom’s family was well known in his hometown community, and the Tuscaloosa Police Department expressed its condolences on the loss.

Tuscaloosa Fraternal Order of Police Lodge President Sebo Sanders said Croom interned with the local department while he was in college.

“It’s sad, I’m very sad. And its heartbreaking when you got a young man who all his life he wanted to be in law enforcement. He was more like a nephew to me,” Sanders said.

We are devastated by the line-of-duty death of Meridian Police Officer Kennis Croom, who grew up in Tuscaloosa. Our...

Posted by Tuscaloosa Police Department on Thursday, June 9, 2022

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