Murky questions surround fatal police shooting of 6-year-old Louisiana boy

State officials are investigating how the boy came to be 'caught in the line of fire' during a police chase Tuesday night.

Melissa Gregory/The Daily Town Talk/AP
Orange paint marks the spot where a 6-year-old boy was shot and killed Tuesday night by Ward 2 city marshals in Marksville, La., in this photo taken Wednesday. The marshals had been chasing a vehicle driven by the boy’s father, Chris Few. The father was shot in the head, but survived. He later was taken to Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria for surgery. The boy, Jeremy David Mardis, died at the scene after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

Louisiana investigators continue to question city marshals after a 6-year-old boy was fatally shot Tuesday night during a police chase. 

Two city marshals from the central Louisiana city of Marksville were chasing a vehicle driven by Chris Few, after he fled from the marshals who were attempted to serve him a warrant. When Mr. Few reached a dead end, he attempted to reverse the car and back into the marshals. 

The marshals then opened fire at Few’s car, fatally shooting his 6-year-old son, Jeremy Mardis, who was inside the car at the time. Jeremy was “caught in the line of fire” and died from gunshot wounds to the head and chest, according to Avoyelles Parish Coroner Dr. L.J. Mayeux. 

“More likely than not they were shooting into the driver side, and he was on the passenger side,” Dr. Mayeux told the Associated Press. “He was in the line of fire.”

Few was also shot and is in serious condition, hospital officials said Wednesday.

“Anytime an individual is killed, especially a child, it’s a tragedy,” Col. Mike Edmonson, head of the Louisiana State Police, told AP. “The investigative team spent 12 hours Wednesday going through the entire scene from a forensic standpoint to get the trajectory of the bullets, find and count the casings and generally put the scene together.” 

State officials can’t confirm why the gunshots were initiated or who shot Mardis, but “We will interview the officers in the very near future,” Louisiana State Trooper Scott Moreau told Newsweek. “You can rest assured we are going to get to the bottom of it.”

Jeremy’s grandmother, Samantha Few, told WAFB-TV that her grandson was autistic and “a special gift from God.”

Jeremy was a first-grader at Lafargue Elementary, where grief counselors are currently working with classmates and teachers.

“He loved everyone he met and they loved him,” Ms. Few told WAFB. “He didn’t deserve what happened. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Jeremy is the youngest person killed by police in the US this year, according to an unofficial count kept by The Guardian. 

This report contains material from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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