A SIX-year-old boy died after being shot multiple times by police officers who opened fire into his father’s car after he fled as a warrant was being served.
Marksville, Louisiana U.S.- Jeremy Mardis was sitting in the front seat by his father Chris Few, who was driving, when two city marshals peppered his car at the end of a pursuit in the city of Marksville in central Louisiana on Tuesday night (Wednesday Australian time),Avoyelles Today reported.
Louisiana State Police chief, Colonel Michael Edmondson, initially described the shooting as ‘an exchange of gunfire’ but on Thursday admitted that Few was unarmed.
He said there was video from the scene and that the four marshalls in total involved had not yet spoken to investigators.
Avoyolles Parish coroner LJ Mayeux said Mardis was killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso. His father, Few, remains in a critical condition at Rapides Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Mardis, who was in first grade at Lafargue Elementary School in nearby Effie, “was a special gift from God,” his grandmother Samantha Few said in a statement to WAFB-TV.
“He was always smiling always happy. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 2. He loved everyone he met and they loved him.
“As far as what caused his death, the only thing I have been told is he died from gun shot wounds. He didn’t deserve what happened. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Two residents living near to the incident said they heard rapid gunfire shortly after police sirens raced down their street. One resident estimated he heard “six or seven” gunshots, while another said he counted at least 10.
Trooper Daniel “Scott” Moreau, a Louisiana State Police spokesman, confirmed that the marshals “discharged their duty weapons” but couldn’t say how many rounds had been fired.
Spray-painted markings on the street show the location of four vehicles at the site of the shooting. On the driver’s side of one of the markings, at least 17 painted spots possibly show where shell casings or other evidence was recovered, The Advocate reported.
Marksville Police Chief Elster Smith Jr said three of the officers who responded to the chase with Few’s vehicle are employed with his department and moonlighting with the City Marshal’s Office.
Smith said it is not unusual for his officers to hold part-time jobs with other departments. The officers have been working for the City Marshal’s Office for three or four months.
Few’s fiancee Megan Dixon told The Guardian that earlier that night she and Few had an argument. She left a pool hall with a friend and Few went to pick up his son from a relative’s house.
A short while later, Few pulled up next to Dixon at traffic lights and tried to get her to come home with him.
“I wouldn’t do it,” she said. “I’m stubborn.”
Moments later as the cars pulled away from the light, she said she saw two marshals’ cars — marked in black and white — approaching from behind with their lights flashing. She looked into Few’s car as he pulled away, and he was pointing at his son’s head, indicating that he was in the car and he wasn’t sure what to do.
Few was afraid of the marshals, she said, because he and one of the marshals on the scene had a prior personal conflict.