A man accused of abducting his infant child after shooting the boy’s mother used the baby as a human shield during a shootout with police in Mississippi on Monday, a law enforcement source told FOX10 News.
What began as a domestic dispute in Louisiana and led to a shootout in Mississippi ended with the death of an infant child. The 3-month old, identified by Louisiana news organizations as La’Mello Parker, was taken to the University and South Alabama University Hospital and later transferred to Children’s and Women’s Hospital, where he died.
The boy’s father, Eric Derell Smith, died during the shootout.
According to Biloxi police, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of shooting on Monday afternoon and found two people dead – Christin Parker and her nephew, Brandon Parker.
That set off a search for Christin Parker’s ex-boyfriend, Smith, and their 3-month-old baby.
Just before 3 p.m., the Biloxi Police Department got involved after learning the suspect had been spotted on Interstate 10 heading east and nearing Gulfport. Between the Gulfport and D’Iberville exits, the suspect drove into the grass median. A shootout ensued. Smith died
The events left Parker’s neighbors in East Baton Rouge stunned.
“It’s quiet,” said Kenneshia Cain. “This has never happened before, … We’ve been here over 11 years and have never had a murder to happen on this street.”
Jamal Johnson said Richmond Street was quiet when he got home from work on Monday and then suddenly filled with police vehicles. He says his heart goes out to the baby’s four siblings.
“I know it’s a rough thing,” he said. “So it’s mainly about the kids, how they feel about it. That’s the way everybody ought to look at it. Because it’s a real rough thing.”
Cain said she is feeling the same way. She said her kids and Parker’s often played together.
“My heart goes out to her family, her children,” she said. “We are praying for them.”
An autopsy will be conducted Wednesday to determine the exact cause of death. Biloxi police said a Harrison County sheriff’s deputy and police officer who were involved in the shooting are administrative leave pending the investigation.
FOX10 News anchor/reporter Shelby Myers contributed to this report.