An alert off-duty Biloxi police officer who lives in Stone County was responsible for taking the alleged shooter of another Biloxi police officer off the street Monday evening.

Officer Wheeler was returning home when he spotted 19-year-old Darian Tawan Atkinson walking near Hwy. 49 and Hall Street Wheeler contacted the Wiggins Police Department and then tracked Atkinson until Sgt. Tim Hill and patrolmen Tyler Roberts and Cody Rayburn could make contact. The WPD officers pursued Atkinson until they subdued him at gunpoint in a field just north of the Hampton Inn. “Thank you to the Biloxi officer who IDed him and to our officers for taking him down,” said City of Wiggins Mayor Joel Miles. “That’s training in action at its finest.”

Atkinson was the suspect in the brazen shooting of officer Robert McKeithen in the parking lot of the Biloxi Police Department Sunday night. Atkinson faces a charge of capital murder of a law enforcement officer. His 21-year-old brother, Davian Atkinson, has also been arrested and faces a charge of accessory after the fact.

McKeithen had 24 years of service with the Biloxi PD and was set to retire within the year.

Atkinson had been the target of an intense manhunt since the shooting. SWAT teams made up of agents from the FBI, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Marshalls, along with local law enforcement, converged on Summer Chase Apartments on Popps Ferry Road Monday in the hopes of finding him there. “Our officers followed up on information provided by Officer Wheeler, which was good information, and effected the arrest,” said WPD Chief Matt Barnett. “They effected the arrest and did a great job.

“I hope the family of Officer McKeithen got some rest and some peace and I hope the Biloxi PD got some rest knowing this guy is off the streets.”

A photo published of Atkinson showed him wearing a St. Martin High School baseball jersey. The Jackson County School District released a statement clarifying that he had not attended the district’s schools. “On behalf of Dr. Barry Amacker, Superintendent of Jackson County School District:  Please make it known to the public that even though the suspect arrested in connection to the officer shooting in Biloxi was wearing a St. Martin Yellowjacket shirt, he is not nor was he ever a student at St. Martin or the Jackson County School District,” the statement read, in part. “Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go to the family of the officer and all associated with him.”

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