Father and baby daughter shot in the head, suspect in custody

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -  Around 9:15 Friday morning, Biloxi Police officers surrounded a Chevy Trailblazer parked at "Woodland Towns Apartments" on Irish Hill Drive. Inside the SUV, they found the body of an infant girl. The tragedy began three hours earlier at another apartment complex in West Biloxi.

"It was a call for shots fired at the Maison D'Orleans on the beach area," said Capt. Darrin Peterson, with the Biloxi Police Department. "Officers responded out there, and found a 30 year old black male that was deceased from an apparent gunshot wound."

The coroner says Romeo Smith was shot once in the head. His body was found in a car. Smith's friend, Fitzroy Chambers, said he was there when police arrived.

"It was shocking, because I know he's a cool dude. He's a church going person," said Chambers.

Police say the suspect is Smith's estranged wife -- 29 year old Barbara Starr Smith of Biloxi. She then approached another woman in the parking lot, and police say Smith shot at her. Simone Dixon was injured from flying bullet fragments.

Police say Barbara Smith then abducted Dixon and Romeo Smith's four-month old baby Savan Smith, and took off in the Trailblazer. Family and friends of Barbara Smith convinced the woman to turn herself in.

"She finally told us she was at an apartment, just sitting there," said K.P. Reed, a friend of Barbara Smith. "We found her. She was going to kill herself, and I was just 'Come talk to police.  Just let's talk to people'. She's never, never been in any trouble. She never did anything wrong."

Barbara Smith's family members also helped police find the Trailblazer and the missing baby.

"And we responded out to the vehicle and found the infant, and the infant was deceased when we located her and the vehicle," said Peterson.

"She didn't have to shoot or kill the guy," said Chambers. "Even if she killed the guy, she didn't have to kill the baby, because the baby's innocent."

The suspect, 29 year old Barbara Starr Smith, is charged with one count of murder, one count of aggravated assault, and one count of capital murder.

The baby's mother, Simone Dixon, is overwhelmed with grief. As friends consoled her, she talked about her little girl.

"She was a happy baby. Just four months," said Dixon. "I just took her for her four month check up yesterday. She was a happy baby. Her father prayed with her today."

Biloxi Police are still investigating this double murder. They're asking anyone with information to call their tip line at (228) 435-6159.