Louisiana troopers knew baby was in fleeing suspect’s car before both were killed in Mississippi

Local News

Infant Le'Mello Parker died of a gunshot wound after being shot at the end of the police chase.

(KLFY)

BILOXI, Miss. (WDSU) — Louisiana State Police knew a baby was in a car that troopers chased from Slidell into Mississippi on May 3, the agency said. That chase ended in the deaths of the fleeing car’s driver and his nearly 4-month-old son, after Mississippi law enforcement officers opened fire.

State Police spokesman Dustin Dwight told WDSU on Thursday that troopers notified Mississippi authorities, who took over the chase across the state line, that a child was in the car with the fleeing suspect. Driver Eric Derell Smith was wanted in connection to a double murder in Baker, just outside Baton Rouge.

Police have said Smith also shot at police, though authorities have not made clear when. WDSU has reached out to Biloxi Police Department for details and is waiting to hear back. The car stopped on the Interstate-10 median near Biloxi when the shooting happened.

Smith died Monday night, and the infant, Le’Mello Parker, was hospitalized and died the following day. The Harrison County Coroner’s Office said Parker died of a gunshot wound.

Dwight said that prior to the chase, troopers were helping East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office locate the infant, Smith and Smith’s car. They located Smith’s car on I-10, traveling east near Slidell. A marked Louisiana State Police trooper tried to pull Smith over. When he refused to stop, troopers chased the car into Mississippi, where authorities there took over.

Dwight said State Police launched a routine review and documentation of the pursuit. No troopers involved in it have been placed on leave. He referred questions about the shooting and anything that happened across the state line to authorities in Mississippi.

Smith was suspected of killing the baby’s mother, Christin Parker, and her nephew, Brandon Parker, who were both shot found shot to death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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