Less than an hour before police officer Robert McKeithen was gunned down in the Biloxi Police Department parking lot, the 23-year law enforcement veteran helped a man out of his wrecked car on the Biloxi Bay Bridge.
Damon Corrigan, 22, said he was on the bridge Sunday night when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his Ford Mustang. He said it happened near the end of the bridge, close to Golden Nugget Casino.
“My whole left side of my car was just destroyed. My wheels were gone and everything,” Corrigan told the Sun Herald.
He said McKeithen responded to the call and helped him out of his car.
McKeithen also went with Corrigan to Merit Health hospital to get checked out after the crash, he said.
That was about 9:20 p.m. Sunday. Corrigan said he made a call to his girlfriend after the wreck at 9:26 p.m. Biloxi police Maj. Chris De Back confirmed that McKeithen responded to the wreck in the 9-to-9:30 p.m. range.
De Back said McKeithen was going to respond to another crash on the Interstate 110 bridge but instead went to the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center on Porter Avenue.
He had gotten a flat tire.
Shortly afterward, at about 10 p.m., McKeithen was shot in the back several times in the parking lot, according to reports.
Darian Atkinson, the Biloxi man charged with capital murder in McKeithen’s killing, was arrested Monday. He is held without bond.
Corrigan was shocked to learn that McKeithen had been killed minutes after helping him.
“The only thing I remember him telling me was that I was so lucky to be alive,” Corrigan said. “He was so nice. I felt so bad.”
De Back said McKeithen is known for being friendly and helpful on calls.
“That’s just who he was,” De Back said.