Police records confirm officers knew a 3-month-old baby was in the front seat when they opened fire on the vehicle, killing the boy and his father

Three-month-old La’Mello Parker was killed after a police shootout involving his father in May.
On Tuesday, Insider obtained a police call log related to the car chase and shootout.
It shows that police knew La’Mello was in the front seat when they opened fire on the vehicle.
Insider has learned that police knew a 3-month-old baby was in the front seat of a car when they opened fire on the vehicle during a confrontation with the boy’s father last May.

Last month, Insider reported on the May 2021 death of La’Mello Parker, which at the time was under investigation by Biloxi Police. Just a day after Insider published our story on La’Mello’s death, Biloxi Police announced that they had completed the investigation and turned the case over to the Harrison County District Attorney’s Office, which will take the case to a grand jury. The DA’s office did not return Insider’s request for comment on whether the case had been presented to a grand jury yet on Tuesday.

La’Mello’s cousin, Lashunda Parker, told Insider that the family has been given little to no information about the shootout — including whether it was an officer’s bullet that fired the fatal shot.

As Insider previously reported, Eric Derrell Smith kidnapped his son after murdering La’Mello’s mother and her nephew at a home in Louisiana on May 3, 2021.

He then led police on a chase into Mississippi, which finally came to an end when he ran over a spike strip near Biloxi and came to a stop in the middle of a highway median.

Bystander video shows the moment the car came to a stop, and officers circled the vehicle with guns drawn. Just seconds later, the sound of multiple rounds being fired could be heard.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, while La’Mello died at a hospital the following day.

On Tuesday, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi responded to a records request from Insider, releasing a call log related to chase. It showed that officers knew a baby was in the front seat of the vehicle, though the log didn’t specify whether the baby was in his father’s arms, or in the front passenger seat.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s department did not immediately return Insider’s request for more information on the baby’s location in the vehicle, or explanation as to why police opened fire on the vehicle if they knew a baby was inside.

Insider also reached out to the other agencies involved in the shootout — the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, the Gulfport Police Department, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the US Marshalls — for comment. Only Harrison County and the Louisiana State Police responded.

Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson said he couldn’t comment because the case had not been presented to a grand jury yet and his office wasn’t the investigating body. A spokesperson for the Louisiana State Police told Insider that the agency wouldn’t have been involved once the chase crossed state lines.

After the incident, the police agencies involved in the chase have remained tight-lipped as to why the situation escalated. But police sources suggested in interviews with local outlets that Smith was to blame.

A law enforcement source told Fox 10 that Smith had been holding his son as a human shield. The Advocate, citing an anonymous source, reported a similar story — that Smith had been holding his son on his chest while driving. The source also told The Advocate that Smith fired a shot at officers at least an hour before the final shootout, injuring no one. The Advocate said it was unclear who fired first in the final shootout.

After learning about the call log, Lashunda Parker questioned why officers decided to fire into the vehicle, if they knew La’Mello was in the front seat, and they had Smith surrounded.

“Why would they shoot if they knew a baby was in the car, why would they do that?” Parker asked on Tuesday.

She said she felt angry about how the situation was handled.

“I’m angry about it,” she said. “I’m also angry about what happened to his mother and her nephew. It was three tragedies in one day and that’s horrible.”

Source & Credit: msn.com

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