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.”

News and notes: The McKeithen files

City Desk podcast: Police Officers Bryan Wallace and Joey Payne join Cecilia Dobbs Walton in this week’s City Desk podcast. To listen to the 23-minute program, which was recorded this morning at Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center, click here.

The obituary: To read the obituary posted on the Bradford-O’Keefe website, click here.

The funeral: WLOX and WXXV plan to air the funeral service on WLOX-ABC and WXXV-FOX Monday beginning at 12:30 p.m. WLOX, WXXV and The Sun Herald will stream the service online as well as on their respective websites.

The funeral procession route: To see funeral route and timeline for Monday, click here.

Prayer vigil: About 500 people gathered Tuesday night for a prayer vigil at the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center, steps from where McKeithen was gunned down two days earlier. To see the entire 32-minute ceremony, click here.

City presentation: Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich and members of the City Council gathered Tuesday at Lopez-Quave to pay respects to the memory of the slain police officer. To see video of the presentation, click here.

The police department: On Monday night, shortly after an arrest was made in the shooting, Biloxi Police Chief John Miller discussed the experiences and impact on the Biloxi Police Department. To see the five-minute video, click here.

And, finally, the family: On Tuesday, the McKeithen family spoke with Biloxi Police Chief John Miller about the life and times of Robert McKeithen. To see the six-minute video, click here.