Fallen Hattiesburg officers memorialized at 5k

Fallen Hattiesburg officers memorialized at 5k
More than 800 people turned out for the event. (Photo source: WLOX News)
More than 800 people turned out for the event. (Photo source: WLOX News)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The inaugural Fallen Officer Memorial 5k Run in Biloxi had more than 800 participants from all across the region.

However, the run wasn't just for those who paid the ultimate price. It was also to support those left behind.

The families of slain Hattiesburg police officers Liquori Tate and Benjamin Deen are ready to give back as much as they have received. It's been a year since the two officers were gunned down in a traffic stop, and events like the Fallen Officer Memorial 5K Run help loved ones heal.

"I wanted to be here with the local people," said Josh Deen, brother of Benjamin. "Because, as you can see, the local community really came through for us."

Kenya Tate, cousin of Liquori, was equally impressed at the turnout.

"This is a tremendous event that means a lot not only to our family, the Deen family, but those that are still serving our communities every day," said Tate.

Sandy McCoy, now of Pass Christian, lost her husband, Officer Jeff McCoy in 2007 when he was hit by a drunk driver while serving with the Abileen, Texas Police Department.

"It's such an honor that people come together and show respect and honor to these families and fallen heroes that just sacrificed everything," said McCoy.

The event drew officers and supporters from multiple agencies throughout the state and beyond. It included a memorial service, during which flags were unfurled with the names of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Those flags were then carried during the run.

The event was organized by Kristen Stachura Allen.

"My goal in all of this was to bridge the gap between law enforcement and community, and bring awareness to show that these brave men and women are human," Allen said. "They're real people."

The message clear to all, even to the youth like Terriyanna Mays; who hopes to be an officer herself one day.

"Seeing everyone here for the fallen officers, it helps me to know that if something were to ever happen to me, that the community will still be behind me," said Terriyanna.

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