LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Long Beach police officers and firefighters answered a different call Thursday, a call to help two grieving families. They joined forces with Domino's to raise money for the families of two fallen officers in Hattiesburg. The Long Beach officers certainly understand their loss and pain and what the support means. They went through an eerily similar tragedy during the same month 17 years ago.
Drivers immediately noticed the strong police presence in front of the Domino's on Pineville Road. The officers really went above and beyond, hoping to get everyone's attention.
"How many times have you seen a cop in a beach chair," asked Bryan Young as he sat in a very high chair.
They wanted to raise money for the families of Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate, two Hattiesburg officers who were killed during a traffic stop on May 9.
"I saw them when I come by there, and my heart goes out to them. My son works for the sheriff's department, and I know how I would be feeling," said Bernice Necaise, of Pass Christian.
"It's a tragedy what happened in Hattiesburg. It really hit home. I have really good family friends who are police officers, and some personal friends who are police officers, so I know how much it really does affect the community," said Patrick Stovall, of Long Beach.
The tragedy in Hattiesburg struck the hearts of many people in the Long Beach community. On May 6, 1998, Long Beach Officers Steve Morgan and James Northcutt were gunned down while responding to a domestic disturbance.
"When something happens to one of our own, we have to be there to try to help the families as much as we can. They're going to need our support," said Long Beach Police Chief Wayne McDowell. "I'm glad to be able to, whatever it is, to try to help, and give what we can to help the families."
Officer Bryan Young was there that day. He was shot three times.
"We're going to be there for the officers and the families that have gone through it. I mean, they need us at this time, and I don't want to reflect on it, because it's not going to be about me. It's about the families," said Young.
Along with the cash donations, Domino's across the state will give 20 percent of all sales to both officers' families.
"I went to school in Starkville with Liquori Tate, and it's just amazing what everybody's doing for these people," said Mary Scarborough, of Pass Christian. "I didn't personally know him, but he had a baby on the way. I have a baby on the way. I can't imagine just what their families are going through."
"We care, and we're here to support, and we're sharing in their grief and trying to give back in some way," said RPM Pizza President Glenn Mueller.
McDowell said his men collected more than $3,300 in cash donations over three hours.
"Oh, it's great. In just the few hours, just seeing how many people pulling up and handing out money. It's a great turnout. The support means a lot to us," said McDowell.
The Domino's fundraiser will continue until the restaurants close Thursday night.