Sun, Nov 08, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Louisiana police officers arrested over boy’s death

NY Times News Service, New York

Louisiana State Police said that two officers had been arrested on Friday on charges of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of a six-year-old boy during a pursuit of his father in a sport utility vehicle in central Louisiana.

The officers, Norris Greenhouse Jr and Derrick Stafford, who were placed on administrative leave after the chase on Tuesday, also face charges of attempted second-degree murder, Louisiana State Police superintendent Colonel Michael Edmonson said at a news conference on Friday.

The father, Chris Few, who was driving, was left critically injured. Few’s son Jeremy Mardis was killed after the police opened fire.

The coroner said the boy was struck several times in the head and chest.

An autopsy was performed on Wednesday but a final report will not be ready for eight weeks.

“He didn’t deserve to die like that, and that’s what’s important,” Edmonson said on Friday. “That little boy was buckled in the front seat of that vehicle and that was how he died.”

Edmondson said that over the past 72 hours, investigators had studied video footage from body cameras, interviewed witnesses and listened to “911” recordings.

He promised a “methodical and detail-oriented investigation.”

He declined to say why the police began pursuing Few’s vehicle or what caused them to open fire on the car.

Describing the body camera video footage, Edmondson said: “I can tell you as a father it was one of the most disturbing things I have witnessed.”

There were two police officers involved in the chase in addition to Greenhouse and Stafford, Edmondson said, but he declined to say whether either officer was suspected of wrongdoing.

He said that investigators would follow the case “wherever this takes us” and that state police had seized guns from the officers present during the incident.

All four were Marksville, Louisiana, police officers who worked part-time as city marshals.

Edmondson said a forensic report from the crime scene would reveal how many guns and bullets had been fired.

That report should be available by Thursday, he said.

The state police said in a statement on Thursday that the marshals had opened fire on the vehicle at the end of the pursuit, about 9:30pm on Tuesday in Marksville.

Marksville, a city of about 5,500, is north of Lafayette, near the Mississippi border.

Jeremy was a student with special needs at Lafargue Elementary School in Effie, Louisiana, Blaine Dauzat, the school district superintendent said in a telephone interview.

The child had transferred to the school during the previous term from Mississippi.

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