Two Mississippi police officers were fatally shot while on patrol Saturday night.
The two Hattiesburg, Mississippi, police officers, Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate, were shot during a routine traffic stop around 8:30 p.m. near the center of the town.
Their bodies were found by local residents, Tamika Mills and Pearnell Roberts, who called 911, reports The Clarion-Ledger.
"Never in my life have I experienced or seen anything like this except on TV, and to be in the midst of it, it's shocking and heartbreaking," Mills said. "As we were coming down Fourth Street, we noticed a bunch of lights. As we came on through, (Roberts) told me to turn around because she saw somebody laying on the ground.
"So I backed up. That's when we noticed the officer was down. We just saw that one, but in the course of me being on the phone with 9-1-1, I turned and I saw another officer across the street rolling on the ground. (Roberts) ran across the street to check on him. He wasn't all the way alert but he asked her, 'Am I dying? I know I'm dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie.'"
Tate, 25, recently graduated from the police academy. He posted his accomplishment to Facebook on June 12, 2014: “I Graduated the Police Academy today. I am now a Police Officer. I would like to thank God, the Police Academy, my family, friends, and love ones.”
Deen, 34, was a K-9 officer who was named HPD Officer of the Year in 2012.
Both officers died after being rushed to Forrest General Hospital.
The suspects fled the scene in a police cruiser that they later abandoned on rail road tracks behind a train depot, reports New York Daily News.
Police have arrested three suspects in the shooting. Marvin Banks, 29, and Joannie Calloway, 22, have been charged with two counts each of capital murder. Curtis Banks, 26, is charged with two counts of accessory after the fact to capital murder.
Curtis was asked by reporters, while being led into Troop J of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, whether he had shot two Hattiesburg patrolmen.
"No sir, I didn't do it," he replied.
Curtis and Marvin both have multiple arrests for weapon and gun charges, and both have previous felony convictions.
A motive has not been released by authorities.
Photo Credit: New York Daily News