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Child hit by stray bullet at Shreveport motel dies; suspect arrested

Joseph Lee Smith, DOB: 7/25/1987
Joseph Lee Smith, DOB: 7/25/1987(Gregg County Sheriff's Office)
Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 9:25 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Shreveport Police Department has arrested a man they believe to be involved in a shooting that led to a child being killed.

Officials say Joseph Lee Smith, 34, and another adult male engaged in an altercation on Saturday, March 20 in the Super 8 parking lot on Monkhouse Drive. Smith allegedly produced a firearm and fired a shot toward the other male. The bullet traveled into a nearby hotel room and hit both the mother and child.

On Sunday, March 21, police got information that Smith was at an apartment in Longview, Texas. Officers there were able to arrest him. He was booked into the Gregg County Jail as a fugitive. He will be extradited back to Shreveport.

Smith was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which is considered a non-violent offense. According to Louisiana law, non-violent offenders only serve 35% of their sentence. He was released from prison June 17, 2019 after serving two years, nine months, and 20 days of his sentence.

Image from the scene.
Image from the scene.(KSLA)

Officials say the mother was grazed by the bullet that struck her 5-year-old daughter Mya Vimal Patel in her head. The child was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. The mother was transported for a minor injury and was later released.

The girl was identified by family members as Mya Vimal Patel. The Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office says Mya was playing near a window when she was hit by the stray bullet. She died March 23 at 5:39 a.m. An autopsy has been ordered.

Mya Patel, 5, died after being hit by a stray bullet while at a motel on Monkhouse Drive in...
Mya Patel, 5, died after being hit by a stray bullet while at a motel on Monkhouse Drive in Shreveport, La. with her mother on Saturday, March 20, 2021.(Family)

The Shreveport Police Department confirmed Tuesday, March 23 that the child died from her injuries.

The investigation is ongoing.

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