(left: Curtis Banks right: Marvin Banks Credit: NY Daily News)
Two Mississippi police officers were savagely gunned down in cold blood by two armed men while the partners were on patrol in Hattiesburg on Saturday night, officials said.
The shooting happened around 8 p.m. near the center of the small town of 50,000 during a routine traffic stop, authorities said.
The identities of the cops were not immediately released, and one “person of interest” was being questioned after a pair of suspects reportedly sped off in an officer’s cruiser, only to abandon it on rail road tracks behind a train depot.
Nearly 250 miles north, in Oxford, the Oxford Police Department tweeted images of two mugshots and asked for “information on Curtis Banks or Marvin Banks,” who officials described as suspects.
Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict said both officers died after being rushed to a hospital.
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree earlier in the evening urged residents to stay inside their homes while the search was underway.
“The men and woman who go out every day to make sure that we’re safe, they were turned on tonight,” DuPree told The Clarion-Ledger on Saturday. “But the person or persons who did this are not safe in the city of Hattiesburg.”
The shooting marks the first police slay in Hattiesburg — a town nearly evenly split between white and black residents — since 1984.
Obviously, this is a breaking news case, so hopefully it ends soon. Right now I haven't seen a direct line to call for tips but if you believe you've seen Curtis and/or Martin Banks, call your local police immediately.