Just 72 hours after a police pursuit ended in gunfire, two Louisiana law enforcement officers are under arrest, charged with murder in the death of a 6-year-old autistic boy.
The boy’s father was wounded when the officers opened fire on the car in which he and his son were riding.
The head of the Louisiana State Police says a video of the shooting is one of the most disturbing things he’s ever seen, CBS News’ David Begnaud reports.
Jeremy Mardis, 6, died in the front seat of his father’s vehicle with his dad at the wheel.
Investigators said both father and son were shot by Marksville police officers Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford. They are being held without bail.
The officers surrendered Friday night and were charged with second degree murder for the death of Jeremy and the attempted second degree murder of his father, Christopher Few.
Neither officer said a word as they were rushed out of the Avoyelles Parish Jail in handcuffs.
A law enforcement source told CBS News the officers will not tell state police investigators why they wanted to pull over Few Tuesday night, starting a police pursuit that ended in gunfire.
Col. Mike Edmonson, head of the Louisiana State Police, has seen the video of the shooting.
He told Begnaud how key the video was to making the arrests.
“That video was incredible,” Edmonson said. “I mean, as a father, much less head of the state police, I looked at that tape, I said this is incredibly disturbing.”
CBS News has learned it was a third officer who recorded the shooting with a body camera after he responded to a call for backup. According to a source, that officer told investigators Few was not acting in a threatening manner toward police.
Initially there was a report that Few had a warrant out for his arrest. It turns out there was no warrant. He had no gun in the vehicle.
Begnaud asked Edmonson what Few did to warrant the traffic stop.
“I think the rest of the investigation tells us that,” Edmonson said. “I mean, we’ve got to look at everyone involved, and we’ll get to the part of that, but what we learned from the very first night, what we heard an hour after that, was that they were trying to effect an arrest warrant on a traffic stop. Not factual. Not factual.”
Edmonson said initially the two officers claimed that Few tried to reverse his vehicle and ram it into one of their police cars.
The damage on the police car that was reportedly hit appears minor.
Begnaud asked Edmonson whether Few was someone who deserves blame here.
“It doesn’t seem from what we see,” Edmonson said, “because we don’t know why they were trying to chase him.”
A source told CBS News that the two officers arrested fired a total of 18 shots at both father and son.
Few was shot twice but survived and is listed in serious condition at a local hospital.
The Avoyelles Parish coroner said Jeremy was shot five times in the head and chest.
“I can tell you he didn’t suffer,” Edmonson said. “He didn’t suffer, and his dad was near him, but he did not suffer.”
The two officers arrested usually work for the Marksville city police department, but on the night of the shooting they were working for the city marshal’s office.
Law enforcement confirmed to CBS News they are probing whether one of the officers arrested has a personal grudge against Few and may have sought revenge with gunfire.