Man faces charge in drive-by killing of Jazmine Barnes

A man faces a charge of capital murder in the shooting of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was killed as she r...

Posted: Jan. 7, 2019 4:11 AM
Updated: Jan. 7, 2019 4:11 AM

A man faces a charge of capital murder in the shooting of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was killed as she rode in a car with her family in Texas.

Investigators identified Eric Black Jr., 20, as a suspect based on a tip. He was arrested and has admitted to taking part in the shooting, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

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"Investigators are continuing to pursue evidence that could possibly lead to other suspects being charged in this case," the statement said. "At this time, investigators do not believe Jazmine's family was the intended target of the shooting, and that they were possibly shot as a result of mistaken identity."

Barnes was riding in a car with her mother, LaPorsha Washington of Houston, and three sisters on December 30 about 7 a.m. when a man drove up next to their vehicle and opened fire.

Jazmine was fatally shot in the head.

Washington, 30, was shot in the arm, while Jazmine's 6-year-old sister was hit by shattered glass. Jazmine's two teenage sisters were not harmed.

Before the arrest, police had released a sketch of the suspect Thursday compiled from descriptions from Jazmine's mother and three sisters. At the time, authorities had said it showed a white man in his 40s.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office tweeted Saturday night that their homicide investigation had taken a "new direction," without providing specifics.

"Detectives are in the process of interviewing persons of interest. More details will be released as soon as possible."

Attack 'was totally unprovoked'

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has previously said that investigators believe the attack "was totally unprovoked."

The girls were still in their pajamas, traveling to Joe V's Smart Shop to get supplies for breakfast.

Washington said Jazmine would have celebrated her birthday next month.

On Saturday, hundreds attended a rally outside the Walmart near the road where Jazmine was killed.

A series of speakers, including members of Jazmine's family and community leaders, expressed dismay and shock at the murder of the young girl.

"I'm telling you, every time I see one of y'all reach out for me, I can hold my head up," Jazmine's mother said. "I can get up in the morning."

The impact of Jazmine's death has been felt far and wide, and supporters have come together to support the family.

More than 2,700 people have donated to a GoFundMe account set up for Jazmine's funeral expenses and family. Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins has said he'll donate his playoff game check to the family.

Jazmine will also be remembered Tuesday during a "Justice for Jazmine Barnes Community Rally" honoring "all murdered victims in Houston/Harris County," according to organizers.

Services for Jazmine are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday with a viewing at Green House International Church. Her funeral is at noon. Mourners plan to release purple balloons -- Jazmine's favorite color.

Jazmine's father, Christopher Cevilla, this week thanked the countless supporters. He appealed to the public for information about the attack.

"I just want anybody, whoever, out there that knows anything about the murder of my daughter, to just please step up as if it was your own," he said. "Just put yourself in my shoes, in my family's shoes."

Correction: A previous version of this story and headline stated that Eric Black Jr. has been charged in the murder of Jazmine Barnes. He has not been formally charged, but is expected to be charged in court on Monday.

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