A police pursuit in Marskville, Louisiana, ended last night with police firing into the car of Chris Few, injuring Few but killing the six-year-old in the passenger seat, Jeremy David Mardis, believed to be Few's son.
The Town Talk reports:
The shooting happened around 9:30 p.m. on Martin Luther King Drive. State Police's preliminary investigation found that city marshals from Ward 2 were pursuing a man and "discharged their duty weapons, at a vehicle, at the conclusion of a pursuit.
The driver was critically wounded, and a 6-year-old passenger was pronounced dead. The release doesn't include specific information on the incident, but sources tell The Town Talk that the man had tried to ram a police vehicle and that the child was his son.
It's unclear whether Few allegedly trying to ram into a police vehicle was the impetus for the initial chase or the shooting. No other information on why police were pursuing Few has been made available.
Authorities could decide to charge Few for the killing of the boy, even though they believe all the shots were fired by city marshals, because of a legal theory that places the liability for damage and death caused by police officers during a pursuit or other police action on the target of that action.
According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IAC), about half of police departments around the country require a pursuit to end when police have identified the suspect, while a fifth of departments only permit pursuits of felony offenders. Most departments also require permission and oversight of a chase by a supervisor not on scene. The IACP has also reportedly found no evidence that such "limited-pursuit" policies cause more people to flee police.
Whether or not the killing of six-year-old Jeremy David Mardis will attract national coverage, the issue of pursuit policy in Marskville and in Louisiana are likely to be a focus of some of the coverage the killing and its aftermath does get.
City marshals have asked the Louisiana State Police to come in and investigate the shooting.