Mother of suspected police killer says son has mental problems

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The mother of a man accused of killing a Mississippi Gulf Coast police officer says her son is “not a thug,” while information has emerged that the man had threatened violence in the past.

Pamela Broger tells The Associated Press on Tuesday that if her son Darian Atkinson shot Biloxi Patrolman Robert McKeithen, it’s because he has mental health problems.

Broger says Atkinson went to Texas for work and came back “a completely different person.” She says she’s had to call police several times. She says officers told her there was nothing they could do because Atkinson wasn’t hurting anyone.

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Atkinson was arrested Monday and charged with capital murder in the Sunday night shooting of McKeithen outside the Biloxi police station. He’s jailed without bail.

Broger denies that her older son Davian Atkinson did anything to merit his arrest for being an accessory to the crime. Broger says Darian Atkinson came home Sunday night when the family didn’t know about the shooting and left Monday in Davian Atkinson’s car.

A Mississippi NAACP leader says his goddaughter was threatened with death last year by the man who’s now accused of fatally shooting a Biloxi police officer.

Biloxi NAACP chapter President James Crowell tells the Sun Herald that Darian Atkinson threatened his goddaughter in February 2018 when the two were Biloxi High School students.

Crowell held a news conference at the time, saying parents should have been notified. WXXV-TV reported then that the accused student, who was never named publicly, was suspended for three days.

Atkinson is charged with capital murder in the Sunday shooting death of Biloxi Patrolman Robert McKeithen. He’s jailed without bail after his Monday arrest.

Biloxi School Superintendent Arthur McMillan didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to an Associated Press email seeking comment. Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania, who’s leading the investigation, didn’t respond immediately Tuesday to a text seeking comment.