Name of fallen Mississippi police officer released. Search continues for his killer.

Published 6:00 am Friday, June 10, 2022

The name of a Meridian police officer killed in the line of duty was released late Thursday.

Officer Kennis Croom, along with an unidentified woman, died in a shooting at approximately 5:30 p.m. in the 2400 block of 51st Avenue in Meridian.

The Brookhaven Daily Leader reports that Croom was a former Brookhaven police officer.

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Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said law enforcement is searching for Dante Marquez Bender, 31,  a former Newton Police officer who was fired in January.

Law enforcement officers in Meridian reported Bender had allegedly killed the woman on the scene and was allegedly about to kill four children as well when Officer Croom stopped him. Croom was fatally shot and Bender fled the scene.

Bender is believed to be driving a 2004 Black Nissan Armada with a tag reading “IMANI.” Bender may be armed and dangerous; if you see him or come in contact with him, please call 911.

If you have any information on Bender or know his whereabouts, please call 911 or 1-855-485-TIPS (8477) or send an email to All tips are anonymous.

MBI is currently assessing this critical incident and gathering evidence. Upon completing the investigation, agents will share their findings with the local District Attorney’s Office.