A man fatally stabbed and suffocated his young daughter inside their Bywater home early Tuesday, later calling the police to tell them what he had done and claiming that God had made him do it, authorities said.
The man told police that he let the 18-month-old girl bleed for hours after repeatedly stabbing her in the heart with a serrated kitchen knife, according to an arrest warrant.
Police said in the warrant that Mark Selassie Hambrick, 45, told them he killed his daughter because “God told him to murder his child so the State of Louisiana can kill him so he can be resurrected.”
However, the young girl identified on social media as Amina did not die of the four stab wounds he delivered to her heart, Hambrick told police. He said she cried as he held her for around five hours, hoping she would bleed to death. In the end, he resorted to suffocating her to end her life.
Police said Hambrick gave the “gruesome” account of killing his daughter after he was advised of his right to a lawyer.
The warrant says that despite Hambrick’s bizarre explanation for the killing, he admitted that “he knew what he did was wrong.”
He was booked on counts of second-degree murder and cruelty to a juvenile.
Police Department Superintendent Michael Harrison called the case "one of the most tragic things any officer can see or investigate."
Hambrick is employed by the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board.
The child's mother, Monika Gerhart-Hambrick, is the director of Baton Rouge's Office of Community Development; authorities said she was away when the killing occurred.
According to Harrison, Hambrick called police about 7 a.m. Tuesday to report that he had stabbed his little girl in a bed before suffocating her "to put the child out of (her) misery."
He said he would wait for police on the front porch of his home in the 3100 block of North Rampart Street, Harrison said.
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The chief said police were investigating whether Hambrick's actions may have resulted from substance abuse or mental illness.
"He was apparently waiting for us — because he didn't resist and told us he would be waiting ... we can reasonably suspect that that's not normal," Harrison added. "That is absolutely not normal."
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome issued a statement expressing support for Gerhart-Hambrick, who joined the capital city's government in January after spending nearly six years as policy director for the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.
"This is a horrible tragedy," Broome said. "No parent should ever have to lose a child, especially in such a violent way."
Neighbors expressed disbelief.
One man described seeing the Hambricks outside their home with their daughter. "She was a pretty little girl," he said. "It don't make any sense."
Hambrick finished a six-month probationary period with the Sewerage & Water Board in February, according to New Orleans civil service records. He was listed as a management development analyst but was placed on unpaid suspension after his arrest.
Hambrick holds a bachelor's degree in history from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and a master's in public policy from Jackson State University in Mississippi. He was formerly a deputy chief administrative officer for the government of Jackson, Mississippi.
He first applied to join the Sewerage & Water Board in 2013. On his job application, he disclosed he had been convicted of driving drunk in 2010.
He faces mandatory life imprisonment if convicted of murder.
The man suspected of stabbing and suffocating his daughter to death at their Bywater home Tuesday morning had worked for New Orleans' Sewerag…