Eyewitness reacts to Biloxi I-10 police chase and shooting
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Double murder suspect Eric Derell Smith drove about 42-miles east into Mississippi on Monday before meeting his fatal end on the side of I-10, near the Woolmarket exit.
Drivers in the westbound lane started to get suspicious when traffic came to a crawl and the eastbound lane was completely clear.
“We noticed the helicopters and that’s when I started recording,” D’Iberville resident Patrisha Ramos said.
What she didn’t know at the time, was that she was recording the end of 130-mile police chase of Eric Derell Smith as he made his way slowly along I-10 in Biloxi all the way from Baton Rouge. Smith is accused of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend and her nephew early Monday in Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish. He then left with his 3-month-old son, La’Mello Parker, and fled east, said authorities.
By the time he slowly crept to a stop near the Woolmarket exit, officers had already used spike strips to flatten all four of his tires.
“There was like 30 to 50 cop cars right behind him. It was pretty scary,” Ramos said.
And things quickly got even more freighting.
Viewer video captures the moment a Harrison County Deputy bumps Smith’s car into the median bringing the chase to an end. Then gunfire erupted, killing Smith. His infant son was taken by U.S. Marshals to a nearby hospital before he was airlifted to a Mobile hospital. The baby would later die from his injuries.
“The thing that came into my mind was the infant in that car,” Ramos said. “Maybe something else could have been done. I don’t know. It’s such a sad, sad thing.”
Law enforcers knew Smith had Parker in the car throughout the chase, driving alongside the car to find exactly where the child was.
The Biloxi Police Department is in charge of the investigation, and is releasing little information about the chase and shooting. However, a press release says, “As the suspect exited the vehicle, shots were fired.”
However, viewer video appears to show no attempt by Smith to get out of the car.
It’s unclear how many officers fired at Smith’s car, but we have learned that one Harrison County deputy, a Gulfport police officer and all of the Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers involved are on administrative leave pending an investigation by Biloxi police.
“That baby didn’t have a chance at all in that situation and it’s terrible,” Ramos said.
She was like many other people who watched the scene unfold as she sat in her car. She captured video of the incident as her mother sat in the driver’s seat and her 4-month old child sat in the backseat. She joins a growing number of people on social media questioning the law enforcement agents’ fatal tactics.
“At least give the person in the car either a chance to get out or surrender or something. Especially if there was an innocent life in that car,” Ramos said.
Now, South Mississippi sends their prayers to the family who lost so much.
Ramos said, “I pray for the family, all the parties involved and God bless them.”
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