BLM Mississippi protests killing of infant in I-10 shootout

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 6:59 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Sunday afternoon it was a memorial service and a call for justice. Black Lives Matter Mississippi protestors were demanding answers in an interstate shootout that happened last week involving law enforcement. That shooting ended the lives of a double-murder suspect and his three-month-old son.

Protestors say the matter could have been resolved without killing an innocent child.

The tragic scene on Interstate 10 last week in which murder suspect Eric Smith was gunned down still shows the scars and evidence of the horror. But it is now a growing memorial in honor of Smith’s three-month-old son La’Mello Parker, who also died in the hail of bullets.

Three month old La'Mello Parker died Monday after being caught in the middle of a shootout...
Three month old La'Mello Parker died Monday after being caught in the middle of a shootout between Biloxi Police and his father, double murder suspect Eric Smith.(Parker family)

A teddy bear wearing a shirt with his name is now a permanent symbol for Black Lives Matter Mississippi. “We’re going to take it with us wherever we go,” said BLM member Reginald Virgil. “Because he’s going to be with us forever and always.”

BLM Mississippi members and supporters gathered on the exact spot where the shooting happened for a symbolic-filled ceremony to honor and celebrate lives lost and, also, to demand answers.

“The questions that we do have involving this horrific incident is what could have been done to prevent the shootings from happening?” Virgil said. “How much did they actually know? This is a hostage situation. So, why was it not treated as such, like a hostage situation? What we’d like to see is more evidence, body cam footage. We want transparency.”

The collective anger is clear.

“They did not care. They did not attempt to rescue the hostage, the person who needed saving,” said BLM member Marquell Bridges. “The innocent person in this whole situation was an infant. At Black Lives Matter Mississippi, we’re going to hold them accountable.”

Rolonda Owens of Moss Point, agreed this could and should have been avoided.

“It kind of hit close because I have grandchildren,” she said. “I mean, this could have been avoided. It’s more than just a child’s life lost. You lost a mother, you lost a father, you lost a cousin. You probably could have lost innocent people on this highway. ... If we don’t stop it, who’s going to stop it. And I’m glad this organization is out here to try to stand up for this baby.”

The case now under investigation by the Biloxi Police Department. BLM Mississippi members say there will be more protests but, for safety reasons, they will not be publicly announced.

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