BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Accused murder Darian Atkinson sits in a Harrison County jail cell. Atkinson is accused of gunning down Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen.
We reported a story a year ago in March where a student at Biloxi High School was accused of making a threat to “shoot up” the school just two weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
NAACP Biloxi Chapter President James Crowell remembers it well because he says his goddaughter was the child named in the threat. He says the threat came from Darian Atkinson.
“There was a young lady there, in a classroom, where it was overheard this young man saying ‘I feel like shooting up Biloxi High just like they did in Florida a couple of weeks ago’," said Crowell speaking in reference to his god-daughter. "She was really upset that she had told the teacher. The teacher went to the principal with it, and that they really didn’t... they kind of pushed her off like, well, it was kind of maybe done in a joking manner.”
However once the police report was filed, Crowell said that Atkinson was only given a three-day suspension due to the fact that he was so close to graduation. Crowell said that the school’s punishment didn’t fit the crime.
“I feel that this young man kind of exemplifies something psychological that should’ve been looked into at that time," Crowell said. "But they didn’t. They just kind of excused it, and let it go. And it looks like this time he made his threat good. He went and killed this policeman.”
Crowell also told WLOX that Atkinson comes from a single-parent family, which he said he knows can be extremely challenging. However, he added that had Atkinson been disciplined and his behavior addressed at the time of his threat last year, Sunday night’s murder of Officer McKeithen might have been prevented.
“And it may could have been prevented had he had some psychological help," Crowell told WLOX. “Evidently, there was something in this young man’s mind about shooting a gun and shooting somebody that he had to go through and do it. He went ahead and did it the other day.”
Having seen the outpouring of emotion from both sides of the story on social media, Crowell said that we need to “start thinking about what’s best for our community and our country.”