Biloxi police officer Theron Edge had a tear in his eyes when he said, "I'm always going to remember hearing 323 Biloxi." 323 was Biloxi animal control officer Nathan Mitchell. According to Edge, "323 was always going to be on the job. He is going to do his job and he was going to do it to the best of his ability."
Mitchell was doing his job Tuesday, chasing a pit bull along the railroad tracks, when the unthinkable happened. A train slammed into the animal control officer, killing him instantly. Now just a few feet away from the tracks, a blue wreath sits alone. It has the number 323 on it. It's a reminder of Nathan Mitchell's dedication to Biloxi.
According to Biloxi police officer Mike Manna, "Nathan was one of the nicest people who worked for our department."
Biloxi police wore black bands over their badges to honor their fallen comrade. "He was the kindest person you would ever meet," officer Darrell Montifort said. "He had a good heart with everything. He always had a smile on his face."
Theron Edge had a smile on his face when he shared his favorite Nathan Mitchell story. It was about Edge and Mitchell chasing a pot bellied pig through east Biloxi. "It just amazes me how when an animal sees Nathan," Edge said, "they know to move."
As officer Edge remembered his friend, a train rolled past the accident site. It reminded the entire Biloxi police department about its loss. "It's hard for everybody," officer Montifort said. "I mean you lose a fellow officer, no matter what he does in law enforcement, it's a grief for everyone. And our grief goes out to his family and his kids."
Nathan Mitchell had two young children. His funeral is next Monday at the Biloxi Community Center. Visitation is at noon, the service is at one. Mitchell will be buried in Wiggins.
Many WLOX viewers will remember Nathan Mitchell from his days at the Humane Society for South Mississippi. Nathan worked for the Humane Society for eight years... and was a frequent guest on Pet of the Week on the WLOX News at Five.