Thousands expected for McKeithen services Monday
Biloxi is expected to come to a standstill Monday afternoon when as many as a thousand police vehicles move through the city as part of the funeral procession for slain police officer Robert McKeithen.
Public visitation for the fallen officer will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1560 Popp's Ferry Road. The funeral service, expected to be an hour long, will begin after the visitation. The procession will leave First Baptist Church around 1:30 p.m. It will travel Popp's Ferry Road to Cedar Lake, I-10 to I-110 Southbound, and U.S. 90 to Veterans ending at the Biloxi National Cemetery. The procession is expected to have nearly 300 police and civilian motorcycles, and hundreds of local, state and national law enforcement officers.
"Anytime you have an in-line-of-duty death, officers from all over the county come and show their support," Biloxi Patrolman Bryan Wallace said during the recording of the City Desk podcast earlier today. "I know we have confirmation that NYPD officers are coming. We have Miami-Dade Metro Police officers coming. We were told Los Angeles PD were sending officers. We also have several sheriff's departments, police departments from all the surrounding states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and Texas are coming to share their respects from his sacrifice."
American flags - measuring 10 to 15 feet wide - will be draped at the entrance of First Baptist Church and at the Biloxi Lighthouse, at Porter and U.S. 90, thanks to the fire departments of Biloxi, Keesler, D'Iberville and Gulfport. Mississippi Power is also ensuring that a huge flag will hang above the procession on Veterans Avenue.
Free pocket-sized flags are now available at the Biloxi Visitors Center and will be available at First Baptist Church on Monday.
"If the public wants to show their respect, they are welcome to line up along the route, preferable Highway 90 and along Veterans Avenue," Officer Wallace said. "Just be mindful that the city is still open, and there will be traffic delays, so stand along the roadway outside of traffic."
Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich, shortly before a prayer vigil at Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center earlier this week, set the tone: "We've had the tragedy, the accused have been captured, and now the attention returns to healing and the memory of a well-liked Biloxi police officer."