Hundreds Rally As 7-Year-Old Houston Girl’s Killer Remains Unknown

Geneva Stokes
January 7, 2019

The Harris County Sherriff's Office say 20-year-old Eric Black Jr. was charged early Sunday with capital murder in the December 30 slaying of Jazmine Barnes.

But acting on a tip received by a civil rights activist, the sheriff's department zeroed in instead on Eric Black Jr., a 20-year-old black man who admitted he was driving a dark-colored SUV from which a passenger opened fire, authorities said. Police say they identified the suspect based on a tip that was corroborated by their investigation.

Jazmine was shot and killed when someone opened fire on the auto she was in with her mother and three sisters in East Harris County on the morning of December 30.

Seven-year-old Jazmine was riding in the vehicle with her mother and sisters when she was shot in the head last weekend near a Walmart in Houston. Her mother, who was also struck in the shooting, was treated for an injury to her arm.

According to KTRK-TV, authorities also arrested 24-year-old Larry Woodruffe.

The sheriff's office said all evidence gathered so far supports investigators' strong belief that she and her family were innocent victims. Investigators are still trying to verify information related to the second person, Gonzalez said, but he declined to say whether anyone was in police custody, citing the pending investigation. The alleged shooter was earlier described as a white man in a red truck, but the sheriff's office did not immediately identify Black's race. The Harris County Sheriff's Office has released a sketch.

Black, who was arrested Saturday night during a traffic stop, was charged with capital murder and jailed without bail. "Our work is not finished, but I believe the people of Harris County can take comfort in knowing we have made great progress".

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Jazmine Barnes was shot in Houston, Texas, on December 30 after a suspect opened fire on the vehicle she was in with her family. Prosecutors said he was driving the vehicle that pulled alongside the Barnes family auto and that someone else shot into the auto.

In an emotional plea, Jazmine's aunt Sharonica Watt asked her niece's killer to turn himself in. He also said he did not believe that there was anything nefarious behind a white man being falsely fingered as the initial suspect.

Jazmine's family had said they believe her death was racially motivated.

"I'm telling you, every time I see one of y'all reach out for me, I can hold my head up", she said.

Some wielded signs that said "Justice for Jazmine", mirroring the hashtag used by advocates and police alike to publicize the killing. Jazmine's funeral is scheduled for Tuesday.

Amid national attention on the case, a $100,000 reward for finding the killer was offered and a GoFundMe page has raised more than $76,000 for the family's expenses.

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