MERIDIAN, Miss. (WJTV) – Agents with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) are investigating after a Meridian police officer was shot and killed on Thursday, June 9.
The officer-involved shooting happened on 51st Avenue in Meridian city limits after 5:30 p.m. According to the Meridian Star, the shooting happened after the officer, who was identified as Kennis Croom, responded to a domestic violence call.
According to the Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler, Croom was shot once in the head and five times in the chest. His body was taken to the State Crime Lab for an autopsy.
Croom was from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and is part of a family connected to University of Alabama football.
He previously served as a Jackson police officer. Jackson Police Chief James Davis released a statement about the passing of Croom.
The Jackson Police Department is saddened to learn of the passing of Meridian Police Officer Kennis Croom. Officer Croom also admirably served as a Jackson Police Officer and was dedicated to the community during his tenure with the Jackson Police Department. The Jackson Police Department extends its deepest condolences to his family, friends, the Meridian Police Department, and the community he served. We were indeed fortunate that we got an opportunity to work with a passionate officer like him.
To the family of Officer Croom, I am praying for your strength during this time of immense sorrow. I know there are no words that can ease your pain. I will pray daily that you find solace in his memory; he will truly be missed, he is a hero forever.
I also want to extend condolences to the young woman who had her life taken away from her in this senseless act of violence.
I also pray that the individual responsible for this heinous act be brought to justice immediately. This is a harsh reminder of the daily dangers law enforcement officers face while trying to serve their community.Chief James Davis, Jackson Police Department
Cobler said a woman also died in the shooting. She has not been identified.
Investigators said a Blue Alert was issued for the suspect, 31-year-old Dante Marquez Bender. He is believed to be driving a 2004 black Nissan Armada with a tag that reads “IMANI.” He is considered armed and dangerous and may be traveling towards Newton County.
Bender was last seen wearing a purple sweatshirt and purple sweatpants.
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Bender, call 911 or 1-855-485- TIPS (8477) or send an email to MBITIPS@dps.ms.gov. All tips are anonymous.
Upon completing their investigation, MBI agents will share their findings with the local District Attorney’s Office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.