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Video of events revealed leading up to officer-involved shooting death of a child

WLOX filed a freedom of information act to learn what exactly happened in May 2021 when three-month old La’Mello Parker was killed.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 9:28 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - WLOX filed a freedom of information act to learn what exactly happened in May 2021 when three-month-old La’Mello Parker was killed in crossfire between police and his father Eric Smith.

The WLOX Freedom of Information Request included the dashcam, body camera and helicopter videos mentioned in the investigative report.

This week, WLOX received that video.

The officers who shot and killed three-month-old La’Mello Parker and his father Eric Smith on I-10 in Harrison County were cleared of any wrongdoing by a Grand Jury.

WLOX previously received 96 pages, three documents, detailing Biloxi Police Department’s investigation. One of those, the Investigative Incident Narrative, was described to WLOX as the “most comprehensive summary of the investigation.” The report included more than 100 witness interviews and video reviews. To protect the identities of all involved, names were redacted from the documents.

Eric Derell Smith
Eric Derell Smith(EBRSO)

On May 3, 2021, Smith was fleeing from Louisiana where he was accused of killing his girlfriend and La’Mello Parker’s mother along with his nephew. During the pursuit, phone records show people concerned about Smith reaching out to him. One of the text messages documented said: “Turn yourself in. Please, think about your family. You got to turn yourself in now.”

Not long after crossing the Mississippi state line, according to the documents, spike strips were deployed by Hancock County deputies puncturing Smith’s tires. After slowing down, Smith got out of his vehicle at the 11 mile marker on I-10.

“Smith exited his vehicle with the infant in his left arm against his chest. Then, he (Smith) pointed a firearm towards a trooper’s vehicle and fired a single round.”

From there Smith got back in his car and the pursuit continued at a slow pace into Harrison County.

“Officers near the front of the pursuit relayed they could see him (Smith) holding the baby in one hand and a gun in the other.”

The Mississippi Highway Patrol and Harrison County deputies coordinated a plan to force Smith off the road just before the Woolmarket exit.

Since officers knew the suspect, Eric Derell Smith, was likely traveling with a 4-month-old, they worked to bring him to a safe, slow stop.

With law enforcement surrounding Smith the narrative said this is what happened right before shots were fired: “The K9 was able to get out of the vehicle due to a center cage malfunction. The K9 began running throughout the scene. Deputy _____ put himself in the line of fire as he chased the K9 in attempt to catch him. Eric Smith rolled the drivers door window down firing his weapon in the direction of Deputy ___ and other officers present. Several officers immediately began returning gunfire towards the suspect.”

In all forensic reports found 17 shots were fired. Three of those struck Smith killing him instantly, one hitting La’Mello. The infant later died at the hospital.

Three-month-old killed in shootout
Three-month-old killed in shootout(WALA)

Watching it all unfold from above, helicopter video showed: “The suspect Smith extending a firearm out of the driver door window frame and firing a shot. Immediately after firing, an object is observed landing on the suspect vehicle windshield, possibly the spent casing.”

You can read the full report here: http://webpubcontent.raycommedia.com/wlox/Biloxi%20PD%20Case%20No.%2021-007362%20REDACTED%20000001-000096.pdf

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