New details and an explicit disavowal of the initial explanation suddenly make the fatal shooting of six-year-old Jeremy Mardis look like the result of disastrous recklessness by local police, if not something worse.
Two days after six-year-old Jeremy Mardis was fatally shot, and just a day after the shooting was attributed to marshals, and the boy’s father accused of backing his car into pursuers, Louisiana police have disavowed that entire story, reports The Guardian.
On Thursday, Colonel Michael Edmonson, head of the Louisiana state police, denied earlier reports that Few had been reversing his car toward the officers, who then had to defend themselves. “No. I didn’t say that,” he told the Guardian. “That didn’t come from me.”
At a press conference, Edmonson initially described the shooting as “an exchange of gunfire”, but later clarified that only the officers had shot, and that investigators had found no gun in Few’s car. Officials had previously declined to confirm whether officer gunfire was responsible for Mardis’s death.
Another revelation: the city’s marshal, Floyd Voinche, and his officers have been accused of routinely “overstepping their authority” by Marksville’s mayor, John Lemoine.
“I don’t know why he felt the need to start patrolling in city limits,” Lemoine said Thursday of Voinche. “It makes no sense to me.”
According to the report (you should read the whole thing), the investigation so far does not seem to support the story that Few was backing his vehicle towards or into officers. The positioning of the three police cruisers on the scene and the spray of glass from the passenger window indicate Few’s car was perpendicular to the officers, and their shots “hit the driver’s side broadside.”
Edmonson also said video footage of the incident does exist, but that investigators have not reviewed it. He added that the officers involved – there are four – had so far refused to speak with state police investigators. Police have not released the names of the involved officers.
Asked by the Guardian what reason they offered for their silence, Edmonson said: “You’d have to ask them. We are trying to talk with them.”
Worst of all—as if this thing can get much worse, holy shit—it’s not entirely clear that Few was approached by the authorities for any good reason. Few’s fiancee, Megan Dixon, said she and Few had bickered at a local pool hall. Sometime later, after Few had picked up his son, he pulled alongside Dixon at a stoplight and asked her to come with him.
“I wouldn’t do it,” she said. “I’m stubborn.”
Moments later, she said, as the cars pulled away from the light, she saw two marshals’ cars—marked in black and white—approaching from behind with their lights flashing. She looked into Few’s car as he pulled away, and he was pointing at his son’s head, indicating that he was in the car and he wasn’t sure what to do.
The reason for Few’s uncertainty? He was reportedly afraid of the marshals “because he and one of the marshals on the scene had a prior personal conflict.”