ALEXANDRIA, La. — Three days after a 6-year-old boy was shot and killed by officers in a barrage of gunfire that also critically wounded the child’s father, authorities late Friday night arrested and charged two of the officers involved with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.
Lt. Derrick Stafford, 32, and Norris Greenhouse, Jr., 23, are the local deputy marshals who fired at least 18 rounds at an unarmed man and his son Tuesday night in Marksville, authorities said, after cornering the driver for unknown reasons following a chase.
Key details of the shooting have remained a mystery even to the investigators, as two of the four officers in the event had refused to speak to authorities, prompting a rare public expression of misgivings toward officers by their law enforcement counterparts.
Six-year-old Jeremy David Mardis died around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday after the car driven by his father, Chris Few, had been chased by the marshals. The exact reason why the marshals were chasing Few — and whether they had legal jurisdiction to do so — remain unclear. The chase ended at an intersection.
Jeremy died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds to his head and chest. Few was shot in the head.
Jesse Chavers, a relative of a woman she said was Few’s fiancée, told The Town Talk that Few was on a respirator in Rapides Regional Medical Center’s intensive-care unit. She said he does not know that his son died in the incident.
Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, traveled to Marksville on Thursday to meet with investigators and city officials about the case and for the press conference. Both he and Marksville Police Chief Elster Smith Jr. called the case tragic, and Smith said he wanted to make it clear that the department extends its sympathy and condolences to Jeremy’s family and loved ones.
They revealed few details about the shooting: that four Marksville marshals were involved, that no gun was found inside Few’s vehicle and that video exists of the incident.
Edmonson said officials in Alexandria were contacted about an hour after the shooting. He said the first 12 to 15 hours were spent going over forensics information, pouring over the scene and the vehicles involved.
The video has not been analyzed yet, he said.
City Marshal Floyd Voinche Sr. was not at the press conference, but he issued a statement Friday, calling Jeremy’s death “tragic,” but insisted that Louisiana law allowed his deputy marshals “to write traffic tickets, make arrests and preserve the peace.”
But Marksville Mayor John Lemoine disagrees. In a letter to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office dated Sept. 1, Lemoine asked for an opinion on whether the marshals had the authority to issue tickets within the city limits of Marksville without approval of the Marksville City Council.
“We have reason to believe that the Ward 2 Marshal is issuing tickets inside the city limits without consent or approval of the Marksville City Council,” reads Lemoine’s letter. “We understand why the State Police can issue tickets without the approval of the Marksville City Council, but we are asking if the Ward 2 Marshal has the authority to issue tickets within the city limits without the approval of the Marksville City Council?”
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