Officer Who Killed 6-Year-Old Claims Self Defense (Photos)

The Louisiana deputy city marshal who was captured on-camera shooting and killing an autistic 6-year-old in November 2015 claims he acted in self-defense.

Derrick Stafford's attorney argues Stafford and his colleague, Norris Greenhouse Jr, began firing after the child's father, Christopher Few, refused to put his hands in the air and obey orders, The Associated Press reports via KATC.

Instead, the officers say, Few continued driving, at one point ramming his vehicle into the car Greenhouse was getting out of.

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"At this point, Stafford, out of fear for his life and that of his fellow officers, began shooting at the vehicle to prevent any further actions by Few which would put the officers in imminent danger," Stafford's attorneys said.

Neither Stafford nor Greenhouse reportedly knew 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis was sitting in the front seat until after they finished shooting.

However, prosecutors say the video shows the two deputies shooting from a "safe distance" as Few's car backed away from them.

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"Perhaps most important, it shows Few with his hands in the air pleading for the officers to stop firing," prosecutors say. "They did not."

Stafford's attorneys say it's not possible to gauge whether the deputies began shooting after Few put his hands up because the video lacks audio for the first 27 seconds.

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It was eventually revealed that Greenhouse had known Megan Dixon, Few's fiance, in high school, adding they'd been romantically involved more recently, the Daily Mail reports. Some speculate if the relationship had anything to do with the shooting. 

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Both Stafford and Greenhouse face second-degree murder charges. Few was critically injured. 

In 2011, The Advocate reported that Stafford was indicted on two counts of aggravated rape. The charges were dropped in 2012.

The shooting stunned the nation in November 2015 and left many heartbroken, CBS reports.

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"He was diagnosed with autism when he was 2," grandmother Samantha Few said of the 6-year-old. "He loved everyone he met and they loved him

"He didn't deserve what happened," she added. "He wouldn't hurt a fly."

Col. Michael Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, also expressed shock.

"As a father, much less head of the state police, I looked at that tape, I said this is incredibly disturbing," Edmonson said after watching the footage.

Sources: The Associated Press via KATC, The AdvocateCBS NewsDaily Mail, CBS News / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Louisiana State Police via Daiy Mail, Facebook via Daily Mail, Daily Mail

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