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A Louisiana Family Wants Answers After 3-Month-Old Baby Was Killed During 130-Mile Car Chase. Did Police Kill La’Mello Parker?

A Louisiana family wants answers about the death of their infant child. For almost a year, relatives of the child are still mourning as they wait for authorities to share if the child was shot and killed by an officer’s bullet.

La’Mello Parker was only three months old when he was shot after being kidnapped by his father nine months ago.

La’Mello Parker (Family photo/Screengrab)

Parker’s father, Eric Derrell Smith, 30, abducted the baby after killing his mother, Smith’s former girlfriend Christin Parker, 32, police stated. Smith, the report also states, murdered the girlfriend’s nephew, Brandon Parker, 26, at a home in Baker, Louisiana, on May 3, 2021. 

After hearing the gunshots, Christin Parker’s young daughter ran outside and told a neighbor what happened, officials said. By this time, Smith was already on the run. The child’s testimony to deputies was essential to law enforcement identifying Smith as the shooter.

While in the custody of the father, the child was killed either by his parent or by law enforcement during the 130-mile pursuit on the interstate. This is at the core of contention for the family.

Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer determined that the cause of the baby’s death was a single gunshot wound obtained during crossfire between the police and his father, WWLTV reported.

Unfortunately, the coroner did not reveal if the fatal shot was a close-range one or from a distance. On May 5, he said those ballistics will be included in the autopsy report and be sent directly to investigators and the district attorney’s office.

The double murder suspect also died during his shootout with the police. The autopsy report said Smith died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Nine months later, the infant’s family is still seeking answers.

The family reportedly knows that after Smith killed the mother and the cousin, he fled with the child. The officers started following him in Louisiana and pursued on east on I-10, knowing the child was in the man’s custody. With this awareness, the police from various agencies banded together to try to safely retrieve the child and protect the public by blocking the road and exit ramps. 

According to law enforcement, the firing between the officers and the suspect started on the interstate in Hancock County. At one point, over 50 vehicles were chasing Smith on I-10. 

During the pursuit, Smith’s tires were damaged by spikes during the pursuit by police. He reportedly stopped near the Woolmarket exit in Biloxi as he tried to cut across the median. Immediately, minutes after the car stopped, officers began to surround his vehicle. A video shows the officers ringing off at least 20 gunshots.

Parker, a casualty in the violent standoff, was rushed to Merit Health in Biloxi, Mississippi. Later, accompanied by police escorts, the baby was transported to USA Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama. Reports say he died at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 4, merely hours later arriving. That is all the family says it knows nine months later.

Detectives say the shooting is still under investigation. One report says that the father may have used Baby Parker as a human shield during the shootout. According to The Advoate, Smith had the child close to his chest with one hand and his gun in the other. The outlet also stated that while Smith shot at the cops, he did not hit any one of them.

The Biloxi Police Department is leading the investigation. Usually, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation would be at the helm, but had deferred to the local force because Mississippi Highway Patrol was involved in the shooting.

While there has not been substantial movement in this investigation, Police Chief John Miller interviewed with the Sun-Herald and stated that given the MHP’s involvement in the case, the FBI Crime Lab, not the state crime lab, is analyzing evidence from the shooting. 

Once that information trickles down to the Harrison County District Attorney’s Office the family will be notified.

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