Police: Infant caught in standoff with Louisiana murder suspect dies at Mobile hospital

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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – The three-month old child who police say was kidnapped by his father in Louisiana has died after a police shootout on Monday.

Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer told WLOX the three-month old infant died at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at a Mobile hospital. The infant has been identified as La’Mello Parker, a boy who was born Jan. 23, 2021.

The infant was trapped in the car with the child’s father, who police identified as 30-year-old Eric Derell Smith. Smith is accused of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend and her nephew early Monday in Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish. Smith then left with the infant and fled east, said authorities.

The police pursuit began in Louisiana and crossed over the Mississippi line. At the 10 mile marker in Hancock County, shots were fired. Since officers knew Smith was likely traveling with the infant, they worked to bring him to a safe, slow stop, closing off exits along the interstate to keep other drivers safe, as well.

In Long Beach near mile marker 28, stop sticks were deployed. The suspect drove around them so the chase continued further east into Harrison County. The vehicle eventually came to a stop in the median near the Woolmarket exit.

Smith was killed when gunfire was exchanged between the suspect and officers. The baby was also shot and was rushed to Merit Health in Biloxi, then air lifted to USA Trauma Center in Mobile, Ala., said authorities.

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