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Months after 5-year-old Mya Patel died, grand jury indicts man who allegedly fired bullet that killed her

Child was struck by a stray bullet while playing near a window in a Shreveport hotel room
A Caddo grand jury indicted 33-year-old Joseph Lee Smith, of Shreveport, on July 21, 2021, on...
A Caddo grand jury indicted 33-year-old Joseph Lee Smith, of Shreveport, on July 21, 2021, on one count each of second-degree murder, aggravated battery and obstruction of justice in connection with the death of 5-year-old Mya Vimal Patel. The child died was struck in the head by a stray bullet March 20, 2021, as she played near a window in a Shreveport hotel room. She died March 23, 2021.(Gregg County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Four months later, the Shreveport man who is suspected of firing the bullet that claimed a 5-year-old girl’s life now is formally charged in connection with her death.

A grand jury on Wednesday, July 21 indicted Joseph Lee Smith four days before his 34th birthday on one count each of second-degree murder, aggravated battery and obstruction of justice, the Caddo Parish district attorney’s office reports.

Mya Vimal Patel was playing near a window in a room at a hotel in the 4900 block of Monkhouse Drive in Shreveport when she was struck in the head by a stray bullet shortly after noon March 20. The bullet grazed her mother.

The child was taken to Ochsner LSU Health, the Shreveport hospital where she died the morning of March 23.

Police believe the bullet came from a gun that Smith fired toward another man while the two were in an altercation in the Super 8 parking lot.

Smith was arrested March 21 in Longview, Texas, after police got information that he was at an apartment there. He was booked into the Gregg County, Texas, Jail then extradited to Shreveport.

Smith was booked into the Shreveport City Jail on the evening of March 24 on one count each of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, being a fugitive, obstruction of justice and illegal possession of stolen things.

He now is being held in Caddo Correctional Center, where he was booked the night of March 25, booking records show.

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