Marksville, Louisiana Police Shoot at Fleeing Car, Kill 6-Year-Old Jeremy Mardis
A 6-year-old autistic boy became the youngest person to be killed by US police this year when Louisiana officers opened fire on a car driven by his wanted father.
WAFB reports the child, Jeremy Mardis, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle driven by his father, Chris Few, when events unfolded beginning around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Marksville, 90 miles (145 km) northwest of Baton Rouge.
It is still unclear why law enforcement officers first confronted Few. Avoyelles Parish coroner L.J. Mayeux told reporters Few had warrants out for his arrest when Ward 2 City Marshal deputies spotted him on Washington Street and that the suspect fled instead of pulling over. Few led deputies on a pursuit through Marksville that continued until he turned down Martin Luther King Dr., a dead end street. He then allegedly backed into a deputy’s vehicle in a bid to escape. Officers then fired at Few’s vehicle, striking Mardis at least five times.
The Alexandria Town Talk reports the boy died at the scene after being hit multiple times in the head and chest. Few was hit in the head and critically wounded; he was transported to Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria for treatment.
Louisiana State Police announced on Wednesday that they are investigating the incident at the request of Marksville police.
The victim’s grandmother, Samantha Few, told WAFB Jeremy was “a special gift from God.”
“He was always smiling always happy,” Few said of the first-grader at Lafargue Elementary School in Effie. “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.”
Few added that officials would not tell her what happened to her grandson for hours after she arrived at the scene of the deadly incident.
KATC reports an autopsy on Mardis will be conducted in Lafayette. Mayeux, who has been coroner for 29 years, said this was the third child he has had to deal with in the last few months.
“The adults I can handle all day long,” Mayeux said. “But this you never get used to.”