A three-month-old baby is dead after his father used him as a human shield during a shootout with police in Mississippi.
La'Mello Parker died alongside his dad, Eric Derell Smith, who had abducted him after fleeing from the scene of another familial killing.
Police in Louisiana responded to a hang up 911 call during a domestic dispute on Monday. Arriving at the home near Baker, they found the body of 32-year-old Christin Parker and her 26-year-old nephew Brandon Parker, both shot dead.
Christin's young daughter told the officers she had fled from the house after hearing gunshots, and ran to a neighbor's house for help.
Missing from the scene were Christin's ex-boyfriend Smith, from whom she had recently spilt, and their infant son.
Just before 3 PM, the suspect's car was spotted heading east on the Interstate 10; witnesses reported he was driving with a gun in one hand, the baby in the other.
A low speed chase ensued; witness video showed dozens of police cars lined up behind the car, more still sped ahead and blocked off all eastbound exits from the freeway.
The chase continued across state lines into Mississippi, until police finally deployed spike strips, destroying the tires. Smith drove on at 10 MPH nevertheless, witnesses telling The Advocate he was clutching the baby to his chest, while gripping the wheel and his gun in the other hand. They said he fired the gun at least once during the chase.
Finally, the car veered into the grassy median near Biloxi, where the fatal shootout occurred. Video shows stalled westbound traffic just feet away, watching the whole episode unfold.
At least 20 shots were fired. Smith was killed at the scene, Fox10 reported. But the baby was also struck once.
U.S. Marshals rushed the infant to a nearby hospital; he was subsequently transferred to a children's hospital in Alabama. But a few hours later, at around 1:30 AM Tuesday morning, he died.
Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer confirmed La'Mello died from a single gunshot wound, WLOX reported; he did not state if the autopsy was able to determine whether that shot was made at close range or not, so it remains unknown if the fatal bullet came from his father's or a police firearm.
Neighbors expressed shock at the killings in the "quiet" neighborhood; local police had no record of any domestic complaints. Court records show Smith's only criminal past was a 2017 arrest for misdemeanor simple battery, accused of hitting his boss at Jack in the Box.
The deceased mother and child leave behind four other young siblings.