A grand jury report said Tuesday that Mississippi cops did not commit a crime when they fatally shot a 3-month-old boy during a shootout with the boy’s father.
Eric Smith, 30, and his infant son La’Mello Parker were both shot dead last year after Smith took cops on a wild car chase from Louisiana into Mississippi after killing the baby’s mother.
Dashcam video played for the Harrison County grand jury showed officers firing more than 20 rounds at the car after Smith allegedly opened fire from inside the vehicle on May 3, 2021.
“After full and deliberate consideration of all the facts and circumstances leading up to the May 3, 2021, shooting of Eric Smith and La’Mello Parker, and the circumstances as they existed at the time of the shooting, the Grand Jury finds no criminal conduct on behalf of the law enforcement officers involved,” the report said, according to WLOX.
Smith had killed La’Mello’s mother and her 26-year-old nephew in Louisiana before kidnapping the child and heading onto Interstate 10 into Mississippi, authorities said.
During the chase, police used spike strips to temporarily stop the car, but Smith got back in the vehicle after using the baby as a human shield, according to authorities.
He didn’t answer his phone as cops tried to call him and negotiate for his surrender, WLOX stated.
The chase turned deadly when Smith’s car got stuck in the mud further down the highway.
Smith was pronounced dead at the scene but La’Mello was taken to a hospital and died a day later.
The grand jury recommended new policies and training for “chain of command” in cases where there are multiple law enforcement agencies involved, the report said.
The NAACP and other activists had called for an investigation after the deaths of Smith, who is black, and the child, The Sun Herald reported.
Local law enforcement officials welcomed the report’s findings on Tuesday.
“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,” Mississippi Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell said in a statement.