BATON ROUGE, LA – Police in Baton Rouge have confirmed the death 2-year-old Azariah Thomas after a gunman shot bullets into the family’s home on West Upland Avenue. Chief Murphy Paul held a press conference later on Friday to confirm the child had passed in the hospital. Azariah’s father Vince Hutchinson is a police officer with the New Roads Police Department.
“Kendrick Miles, 41 was arrested early this morning for Kidnapping, Home Invasion, Attempt 2nd Degree Murder, 1st Degree Murder, 6 counts of Attempt 1st Degree Murder, 3 counts of Illegal Use of a Weapon and Possession of a Firearm by Persons convicted of certain felonies,” Chief Paul said in a statement.
Miles, according to the police was known to the family. Miles has now been connected to four separate violent incidents that happened Thursday.
Later, a report came in that a minor child had been kidnapped.
Shortly after the toddler was struck, Baton Rouge policers were called to a separate incident on Snipe Street where a victim told police that Miles, a family member had fired multiple gunshots at him. By this time, police did not know the two incidents were linked, but a manhunt was launched to find Miles in a coordinated multi-jurisdiction search. At 2:45 a.m., police found Miles into custody.
Police were able to rescue the child Miles kidnapped and returned the child to the family.
Chief Paul credited the hard work of his detectives and the close coordination between his department and other agencies for the quick capture of the man who had committed four violent crimes in one evening.
Sheriff Todd Morris of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Department said once a report came in that a child had been abducted, resources were put in place to save the child and through the investigation at each crime scene, Morris said his office realized they were looking for the same person for all of the incidents.
“We thank the good Lord for that,” Morris said of the rescue of the second child. Chief Paul and Sheriff Morris said they both went to the hospital to comfort the family.
Chief Paul said Miles was known to police and was a suspect in a past homicide. Paul said state laws have allowed repeat offenders like Miles and others to go free over and over again, now he’s seeking federal authorities to charge Miles in an attempt to put him away for good.
“There were opportunities,” Paul said of taking Miles off the streets. “We can do better.”