A search was underway in Mississippi on Friday for a suspect wanted for killing a police officer and at least one other person.
Meridian police officer Kennis Croom was killed while responding to a domestic violence incident less than a month before his 31st birthday. His identity was initially shared by the family on social media and later confirmed by Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cbler, confirmed the officer’s identity, WDAM reported.
According to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, a “deceased female” was also found in the same scene.
On Thursday, agents identified the suspect as 31-year-old Dante Marquez Bender. He is believed to be driving a black 2004 Nissan Armada with a tag that says “IMANI”. Authorities have also warned that he may also be armed and dangerous.
Gluckstadt Police Chief Wendell Watts mourned the loss of his “brother in blue” after the violence, calling the loss “especially difficult”.
“Everyone in law enforcement has been on similar calls and (knows) it could happen to them or their partner or friend,” Watts said.
“I have lost many officers over the years who were friends and colleagues. Today brings them all back.”
Watts met Croom, at the time an officer in the Jackson Police Department and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department, while he was head of security at Merith Health Central. They met when the fallen officer worked extra jobs at the hospital, according to the news station.
“He’s just a nice guy,” added Croom.
Bender, a black male, was described as being 5’11 with dark hair and dark eyes. Police said he weighs about 299 kilograms.
Anyone with information about the case should call 911 or 1-855-485-TIPS (8477) or email [email protected] All tips are anonymous.