UPDATE: Mississippi Police have captured the suspect they believe is responsible for the murders, a former officer who was fired in January.

A police officer from Tuscaloosa and a woman were fatally shot in Meridian, Mississippi Thursday night, the Thread has learned.

The officer, Kennis Croom, was a Tuscaloosa native working for the Meridian Police Department. He became a law enforcement officer in 2013 and had served with multiple departments in Alabama and Mississippi, including the the Eutaw Police Department in Greene County.

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The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is now investigating, and said Croom and a not-yet-publicly-identified woman were found at the scene of a shooting on 51st Avenue in Meridian Thursday.

State Police believe 31-year-old Dante Marquez Bender is responsible for the double homicide, and a manhunt is underway to find him Thursday night.


Police said he is believed to be driving a black 2004 Nissan Armada with the license plate "IMANI" and should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees a car matching that description is urged to immediately call police in whatever jurisdiction it is seen -- Bender is believed to be traveling on or near Interstates 59 and 20.

Anyone with information on Bender or his whereabouts, can also call 1-855-485-TIPS (8477) or send an email to MBITIPS@dps.ms.gov. All tips are anonymous.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for updates on this story as they become available.

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