MARKSVILLE, LA (WAFB/AP) - Authorities said a 6-year-old child was shot five times and killed, his father was critically injured, after a police pursuit and shooting Tuesday night. The child, Jeremy Mardis, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle when the situation unfolded.
Louisiana State Police reported it happened in Marksville, LA around 9:30 p.m.
Dr. L.J. Mayeux, coroner of Avoyelles Parish says the father of the victim, Chris Few, had warrants out for his arrest. Ward 2 City Marshal deputies spotted Few's vehicle on Washington Street. Instead of pulling over, Few led deputies on a chase through Marksville, finally turning down Martin Luther King Dr., which is a dead end street.
Mayeux says Few backed into the marshal's vehicle several times and would not come out. That is when a gun battle ensued between the marshals and Few.
"It's still under investigation, but all indications are that the shots came from outside the vehicle," Mayeux said.
Tpr. Scott Moreau with LSP said the preliminary investigation showed Marksville City Marshals from Ward 2 fired at the car at the end of the pursuit. He added that Few is in critical condition.
"I know it was more than one officer involved," said Louisiana State Police Master Trooper Scott Moreau. "There were multiple officers, but whether it was two, three or four, I don't have that information yet."
It is still unclear who specifically killed the child. Dr. Mayeux says Jeremy was shot at least five times, with two specific shots killing him.
The first grader died on the scene.
"The two fatal shots were to the head and left thorax or chest," said Mayeux.
"When a 6-year-old child is killed, regardless of how he was killed, it is detrimental to the community, to the police officers, to everybody involved," said Master Trooper Moreau.
"To be arrested for a simple warrant, whatever it may have been, is definitely not worth a child's life," said Dr. Mayeux.
Jeremy's grandmother spent her day at the hospital with Chris Few. She said she is not ready to be interviewed, but did tell us in a statement, "Jeremy was a special gift from God. He was always smiling always happy. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 2. He loved everyone he met and they loved him. As far as what caused his death, the only thing I have been told is he died from gun shot wounds. He didn't deserve what happened. He wouldn't hurt a fly."
Moreau also said the Alexandria field office of Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations responded to the scene to investigate at the request of the Marksville Police Department.
The investigation is ongoing.
Jeremy Mardis was a first grader at Lafarue Elementary School in Effie.