Half-day manhunt ends with suspected killer behind bars

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Bender allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend and unborn child

ACKERMAN, Miss. (WCBI) – 14.5 hours later, Dante Bender was arrested. Bender drove from Newton County to Ackerman early this morning where he was caught and arrested.

Bender allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend and unborn child with Meridian police officer Kennis Croom. His phone pinged Ackerman after a nearly 15-hour statewide manhunt.

Bender’s SUV was spotted behind a Chevron gas station in Ackerman; the store owner said he couldn’t believe his ears when he got the call.

“She was like I thought the guy is over there and I was like calling the police, I’m on my way and I live across the street and I came right over. I’m happy that they handcuffed him but nobody expected it to be here in Ackerman, just a small town,” said store owner Amar Kassim.

U.S. Marshals and officers from multiple state and county agencies were involved in the capture. Choctaw County Sheriff Brandon Busby said his deputies responded quickly when they discovered Bender was in their area.

“You never know what you’re going to walk on or what kind of situation you’ll see when you go on stage. Officer safety is important and we encourage our employees to follow all guidelines and protocols,” Busby said.

Ackerman Police Chief Tim Cook said having a bird’s eye view helped officers bring the suspect into safe custody.

“When you put the drone in the air, which can cover several miles, it helps keep the officers safe, and we need to make direct contact at that time, that way we can sit down and come up with a plan. to see how we should come in,” Cook said.

Bender was brought back to Lauderdale County.

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