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Mississippi Cop And Pregnant Woman Murdered By Gunman, Manhunt Underway

Meridian, MS – A manhunt is underway for the gunman accused of murdering an on-duty Meridian police officer and an unidentified pregnant woman on Thursday evening.

The attack occurred in the 2400-block of 51st Avenue at approximately 5:30 p.m. on June 9, WTOK reported.

Investigators said Meridian Police Officer Kennis Croom was responding to a domestic disturbance when he was fatally shot by 31-year-old Dante Marquez Bender, according to WSFA.

The body of an unidentified pregnant woman was also found at the scene, WTOK reported.

Details regarding what transpired prior to the shooting have not been released.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) is handing the ongoing investigation into the fatal attack.

Bender is believed to be driving a black 2004 Nissan Armada bearing license plate “IMANI,” the MBI said in a press release on Tuesday night.

“Bender may be armed and dangerous, if you see him or come in contact with him, please call 911,” the MBI added.

Officer Croom joined the Meridian Police Department (MPD) in October of 2021, according to WFSA.

He previously served with the Jackson Police Department and the Eutaw Police Department, The Birmingham News reported.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Officer Croom began his law enforcement career in 2013.

“We were indeed fortunate that we got an opportunity to work with a passionate officer like him,’’ Jackson Police Chief James Davis said in a press release as news of Officer Croom’s murder spread.

“To the family of Officer Croom, I am praying for your strength during the time of immense sorrow. I know there are no words that can east your pain,’’ Chief Davis wrote, according to The Birmingham News. “I will pray daily that you find solace in his memory. He will truly be missed. He is a hero forever.”

This is a developing story and we will keep you updated. For all of our updates, follow us on Facebook and go to your news feed preferences under your settings, then select that you want to see more of The Police Tribune’s posts in your news feed. Otherwise, Facebook may not show you updates.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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