BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA: A two-year-old child, Azariah Thomas, was shot dead on Thursday, October 15. According to a police report, the incident took place at 9.30 pm ET when an individual, Kendrick Myles, allegedly fired shots into a house on West Upland Avenue. The child was struck and taken to hospital immediately. Chief Murphy Paul confirmed during a press conference on Friday, October 16, that the child later died.
According to reports, Myles’ violent rampage began on Thursday. He allegedly had injured a male relative and abducted his nine-year-old nephew before opening fire at the West Upland Avenue house. Detectives were called to the first shooting incident which took place at 3637 Osceola Street, Florida. A man was reportedly shot in his hand during the incident. The victim told the police that he had been shot by Myles, a family member. At the time Baton Rouge Police were investigating the shooting incident, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office was investigating the reported kidnapping of a nine-year-old child on Bluebonnet Boulevard that happened around 9 pm. The child is reportedly another family member of Myles. Shortly after, the police were called to the house at 6095 West Upland Avenue where Myles allegedly opened multiple rounds of fire in which Azariah lost his life.
Myles, 41, was charged with killing the boy following his arrest on Friday. According to a police report, the accused had a beef with the people who lived in the house where Azariah was shot dead, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported. The police said the house was one of the stops Myles had made during his violent rampage which reportedly included kidnapping the nine-year-old nephew, injuring the male relative and shooting it out with another relative who showed up to rescue the nephew.
In 2004, Myles was jailed for trying to kill 11 people following a dispute with his girlfriend, WAFB reported. He was also being sought for torching an ex’s house in July 2020. “We’ve dealt with him before. The same individuals. That is what I hear from my officers. We arrest them and have to deal with them again… Shooting and murders, what’s right about that?” Paul said, according to WBRZ-TV. The chief also said that he had been considering asking the feds take over the cases of “these repeat offenders”, presumably because sentences in federal court are tougher.
Who was Azariah Thomas?
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul called Azariah Thomas a “beautiful soul” who didn’t deserve to die. The boy’s father, Vince Hutchinson, serves as a police officer with the New Roads Police Department outside of Baton Rouge. “When we’re out there trying to find comforting words, it’s hard,” Paul told reporters, WAFB-TV reported. “The two years we had was a loving 2 years. Even though the person that did it is gone. It still don’t bring no closure to heavy heart that we have,” Lakechia Powell, grandmother of the two-year-old victim, told WAFB. “This guy (suspect) was almost like a family member, he’s been around that long. He was considered family, to the family. And for him to do this, for him to do this, it makes it even harder,” said Lena Cassel, a family member. “Azariah means king in the bible. Okay, he was our little king for a short period of time, but he will continue to be our little king,” Cassel added.
WAFB anchor, Liz Koh, shared Thomas’s picture on Twitter and wrote, “Praying for Azariah Thomas’ parents and family tonight. This is such an awful thing for a parent to have to deal with. His father, New Roads Police Officer Vince Hutchinson, shared these family photos with us. Thinking of you Vince. @WAFB.”
As soon as the news came to the fore, people started reacting to it. One user wrote, “Stop it. That’s not called for. That’s not what it is. Decades of subjugation breaks the soul. Senseless violence is unacceptable.” Replying to Koh’s tweet, another wrote, “What an adorable little man. My God, my God! Lord I ask of you to place your loving arms around this family and give them the strength, comfort, and understanding they need right now. Lord take his mother in your arms and never let her go she is all you have right now. “
Stop it. That’s not called for.
That’s not what it is. Decades of subjugation breaks the soul. Senseless violence is unacceptable💯
— Nics left hook is OP🌹 (@BailadorNegrito) October 17, 2020
What an adorable little man. My God, my God! Lord I ask of you to place your loving arms around this family and give them the strength, comfort, and understanding they need right now. Lord take his mother in your arms and never let her go she is all you have right now. 💔💔.
— Renee Darensbourg (@ReneeDarensbour) October 17, 2020
Journalist Lester Duhe also shared his pictures on Twitter and wrote, “These are pictures of 2-year-old Azariah Thomas from his mother. He was shot an killed last night on West Upland Avenue. Let’s pray for this family… I’ll have more at 10 on @WAFB.”