Photo courtesy of Steve Campion via Twitter (@SteveABC13), Harris County Sheriff’s Office (@HCSOTexas)
Last week, a 7-year-old girl, Jazmine Barnes was killed in a drive-by shooting. The young girl was shot while inside of a moving car with her family near a Walmart outside Houston, Texas. Now, 20-year-old Eric Black Jr. has been arrested for her murder.
Authorities previously reported that a man in a red or maroon pickup truck drove up next to Brown and her family around 7 a.m., and began shooting for no apparent reason. An anonymous tip was made to activist Shaun King, which reported that Black and another person, identified in court as “L.W.,” shot at the vehicle that Jazmine and her family was in after what is now being called a case of “mistaken identity.”
Originally, the gunman suspected to be in the driver’s seat, authorities described as a white man in his 40s with a 5 o’clock shadow beard who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt at the time of the incident. But, according to a court statement, a few days after the shooting, Eric was pulled over for failing to use his turn signal. The 20-year-old was then arrested for marijuana possession, and questioned by homicide investigators based on the anonymous tips that were given.
After being questioned, Black admitted that he was driving the car that was used in the shooting, while another man in the passenger seat shot at the car. He also confessed that the gun that was used in the shooting was from his home, and he gave officers permission to search for it. Officials found a 9mm pistol consistent with shell casings recovered from the scene. Because of the pending investigation, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has declined to name the second person involved. Prosecutors identified Larry Woodruffe as the second suspect according to the Houston Chronicle, but he has not yet been charged in connection with the shooting.
Once news broke, after holding back tears, Jazmine’s father, Christopher Cevilla said: “Now my baby has gotten justice. Now we can properly put her to rest without having to put her to rest and we’re still on a manhunt looking for a suspect.”
At the start of this case, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez made it clear that this Houston girl’s story and death will not fall by the wayside: “We’re not going to rest until we find justice for Jazmine,” he said. After talking with Jazmine’s mother and her three sisters, the Sheriff’s Office released a surveillance video of the suspect’s vehicle.
LaPorsha Washington, the 7-year-old’s mother recalls that she didn’t know what was going on when the shooting started: “I didn’t even hear the first gunshot. All I remember is my glass shattering on my window, and then I heard the shots go off.” Washington realized Jazmine had been shot after her 15-year-old daughter, Alexis called her sister’s name and received no answer. “When she said Jazmine the third time, I turned the light on in the car and turned around and looked at my baby. She was leaned over on the door and blood was everywhere,” she said.
Barnes’ funeral is scheduled to happen on Tuesday and NBA champion, Shaquille O’Neal is stepping in to cover the costs alongside Houston Senior Police Officer Kenneth Miles. The two dropped off a cashier’s check to her family on Friday. Also, Houston Texans player DeAndre Hopkins announced on Twitter that he would dedicate his playoff check to also help with the service as well.