Mississippi officers cleared in shooting deaths of man, baby

Apr 19, 2022, 5:31 PM | Updated: 6:02 pm

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi grand jury has found no fault by law enforcement officers in the shooting deaths of a Black man and his baby after a low-speed highway chase nearly a year ago.

Eric Smith, 30, and his 3-month old son, La’Mello Parker, were killed after officers chased Smith on Interstate 10 last May 3. Authorities said Smith was suspected of killing two people, including his son’s mother, in Baker, Louisiana, before driving into Mississippi.

News outlets reported the Harrison County grand jury released its report Tuesday.

Videos of the shooting showed law enforcement officers firing more than 20 rounds into Smith’s car. Smith died at the scene, and the baby died a day later of a gunshot wound to the back, according to officials.

Mississippi Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell said Tuesday that Smith’s actions were “violent and reckless” and showed no regard for others. Tindell said at one point, Smith got out of his vehicle, held the baby to his chest and shot at officers.

“Although all of the agencies involved took several steps to prevent this tragic outcome, La’Mello Parker’s life was needlessly taken as a direct result of the violent actions of his father, Eric Smith,” Tindell said in a statement.

Activists from multiple groups, including the NAACP, Mississippi Rising Coalition, Black Lives Matter and the American Descendants of Slaves, have been pushing for answers and demanding transparency in the investigation of the shooting deaths.

Col. Randy Ginn, director of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, praised the grand jury’s decision but said in a statement that “the tragic loss of La’Mello Parker’s life was unnecessary,.”

“On that day, state troopers and other law enforcement officers went to extraordinary lengths in their attempts to resolve this incident in a peaceful manner,” Ginn said. “We continue to grieve for the families of all those involved and will continue to pray for their healing.”

The Department of Public Safety usually investigates shootings of or by law enforcement officers. Biloxi Police Department investigated the shootings of Smith and La’Mello because state troopers were among those firing shots. The FBI analyzed evidence, including shell casings collected at the site.

Authorities said Smith had left Louisiana after allegedly shooting and killing the baby’s mother, Christin Parker, 32, and her nephew, Brandon Parker, 26, at a home near Baton Rouge.

Smith took the baby and drove into Mississippi, where law enforcement started pursuing him on I-10, according to authorities. Officers used spikes to flatten his tires, and he drove as slowly as 10 mph (16.1 kilometers per hour) at times. At one point, Smith drove into the interstate median near an exit.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
4 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
12 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
12 days ago
Tom Brundy points to a newly built irrigation canal on one of the fields at his farm Tuesday, Feb. ...
Associated Press

Southwest farmers reluctant to idle farmland to save water

There is a growing sense that fallowing will have to be part of the solution to the increasingly desperate drought in the West.
19 days ago
A young bison calf stands in a pond with its herd at Bull Hollow, Okla., on Sept. 27, 2022. The cal...
Associated Press

US aims to restore bison herds to Native American lands after near extinction

U.S. officials will work to restore more large bison herds to Native American lands under a Friday order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
19 days ago
(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...
Sponsored Content by OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

Here's what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...
Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Mississippi officers cleared in shooting deaths of man, baby