Suspected double murderer killed by police; kidnapped baby shot

When the suspect and officers exchanged fire, one of the bullets hit the three-month-old baby

Loading the player...

A double-homicide suspect and his infant son have died after a police shootout in Louisiana earlier this week.

On Monday, Eric Derell Smith, 30, allegedly kidnapped his three-month-old son after fatally shooting the child’s mother and her nephew. When the Louisiana man tried to escape, he opened fire on police, prompting them to fire back, per WLOX News.

“The juvenile did receive injuries and was taken to a local medical facility for treatment. Despite the efforts of medical staff, the child passed away as a result of the injuries sustained. As stated, the investigation is ongoing at this time. Once a thorough investigation is completed, the details will be released to the District Attorney’s Office for review,” said the Biloxi Police Department in a statement on May 4.


Read More: Police searching for missing NY college student Saniyya Dennis

Smith allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend, Christin Parker, 32, and her nephew, Brandon Parker, 26, at Parker’s residence in an East Baton Rouge Parish near Baker, La. on Monday around 11:30 a.m.

Officers said Smith then fled and crossed state lines into Mississippi with his son, 4-month-old La’Mello Parker. Officers secured exits in pursuit of Smith, causing a traffic jam that lasted for approximately four hours. A fleet of police cars eventually caught up the suspect around the 10-mile marker in Hancock County.

According to WLOX, At least 50 law enforcement vehicles from multiple agencies were involved in the pursuit, including Mississippi Highway Patrol, Louisiana State Police, Biloxi Police Department, the U.S. Marshal Service, and deputies from Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties.

Unfortunately, when Smith and officers exchanged fire, one of the bullets hit the baby who was in the car. La’Mello was initially taken to a Mississippi hospital in a stable condition, but passed away after being transferred to a Children’s and Women’s hospital in Alabama.

“An autopsy will be done tomorrow to determine the exact cause of death. All we are releasing now is that he died as a result of his injuries,” said Brian Switzer, Harrison County Coroner.

Medical attention was given to Smith after being shot but he died on the scene.

Read More: Rep. Cori Bush says America is ‘racist AF,’ backs defunding St. Louis police

The death of the infant sparked a debate on Facebook. Some users believe the officers should not have opened fire because they knew an infant was in the car. Others says the police had no choice.

The baby died early this morning at a Mobile hospital, said police. He has been identified as La’Mello Parker. He was born on Jan. 23, 2021.

Posted by WLOX-TV on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

“The man was in the driver’s seat, the officers knew there was a baby in the backseat. The man had nowhere to run; I would expect law enforcement to be trained in a way that would protect innocent victims in this type of situation. I think we need to take a good hard look at why we didn’t have a negotiator on site, mental health officials, and a plan to wait this man out. He would have ran out of bullets eventually,” wrote one user.

“Multiple officers willy nilly firing at a vehicle that has a baby in it is not the way. I respect the law and our officers, and I think it’s a shame that they are not receiving better training. A whole family wiped out in one day, it’s freaking tragic. It makes me so sad. Praying for everyone involved.”

But another user defended the officers’ actions, believing they acted according to the situation’s conditions.

“I just read another comment in this thread that stated if the father and baby had been white the outcome would have been different. I just shake my head as to why it had to be turned into a race issue. This man killed people, he lead the police on a 100 plus mile chase across 2 states,” the user wrote.

They continue with, “He fired at the police and as they were exchanging gunfire, he snatched the baby up and the baby got hit. How is this the police’s fault? Doesn’t matter what color they were. Things have been way out of control in our country when it comes to this issue and the police, I can not argue that at all but this is not the case this time. I am just heartbroken for the innocent baby though.”

Loading the player...

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!