Police: Baby allegedly kidnapped from Baker area home dies; new video shows shootout
HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WAFB) - A double homicide suspect from the Baker area and his 4-month-old son that he allegedly kidnapped are both deceased, according to the Biloxi Police Department.
LANGUAGE WARNING: New video obtained by WAFB from Paige Harkins from Monday, May 3, shows the exchange of gunfire on I-10 in Harrison County, Mississippi, between law enforcement and the double murder suspect Eric Derell Smith.
Authorities say Eric Derell Smith, 30, fatally shot his ex-girlfriend, Christin Parker, 32, and her nephew, Brandon Parker, 26, around 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 3, at Parker’s home in an unincorporated area of East Baton Rouge Parish near Baker, La.
Smith then allegedly abducted Parker’s 4-month-old son, La’Mello Parker, and left the scene, according to law enforcement. Officials say Smith was the baby’s biological father.
Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer issued the following statement on Wednesday, May 5 after conducting an autopsy on La’Mello Parker:
“The infant died from a single gunshot wound. He will not say where the gunshot wound was. He does not know if it was made at close range or long range. That information will be included in the autopsy report, which will be sent to investigators and the DA’s office. The suspect’s autopsy was also today. He died from multiple gunshot wounds. He does not have any other information to release. Any additional information will need to come from Biloxi Police since they are the investigating agency or the DA’s office,” Switzer said.
The Biloxi police chief said the district attorney asked his department to lead the shooting investigation. Also, officials said Mississippi state troopers, one Harrison County sheriff’s deputy, and a Gulfport police officer involved in the chase are all on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.
Police say Smith was later spotted in his vehicle around 2:52 p.m. near the Louisiana/Mississippi state line. Multiple Mississippi law enforcement agencies say they engaged in a pursuit with Smith on I-10 eastbound.
WLOX-TV, WAFB’s sister station in Biloxi, Miss., reported Monday evening Smith died in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement after the police pursuit ended on I-10 in Harrison County, Miss.
The Harrison County Coroner confirmed the suspect died from multiple gunshot wounds. The shooting was one mile west of the Woolmarket exit on I-10 east in Harrison County, Miss. Smith was in the driver’s seat. The coroner added it was not a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Biloxi TV station also reported the baby was injured in that same exchange of gunfire on Monday afternoon. After the gun battle ended, U.S. Marshals dashed in, grabbed the child, and rushed the baby to the hospital, WLOX reports. The child was suffering from a gunshot wound but was still alive when he was moved from Merit Health in Biloxi, Miss. to USA Children’s Hospital in Mobile, Ala. Monday evening.
Officials say the baby later passed away at the hospital. The autopsy for the baby is scheduled for Wednesday, May 5 in Biloxi, Miss.
“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,” the Biloxi Police Department said in a statement on Tuesday, May 4.
Many wanted to know why an AMBER Alert was not issued by Louisiana State Police on Monday.
”Prior to the issuance of an AMBER Alert, the suspect and child were located by investigators and patrol personnel actively looking for the vehicle. Mississippi authorities will be handling any investigation on actions that occurred in Mississippi and EBR will be able to speak on the investigation in Louisiana,” said Tpr. Nick Manale with LSP.
According to Louisiana State Police on Tuesday, law enforcement started tracking Smith in the Troop L district, which is near Mandeville. Troopers said they did not issue an AMBER Alert for the baby because, while they were still waiting for the information to issue the alert, they found the vehicle’s location.
A spokesperson with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said the department was still confirming the information needed for an AMBER Alert when troopers found Smith.
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