A horrible case of mistaken identity has led to the death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, and the arrest of her alleged killer, 20-year-old Eric Black Jr. sparked a debate on race-related crimes.
After an extensive manhunt, the suspect, who shot Jazmine on December 30, has been apprehended. Police officers are searching for a second person.
Little Jazmine was fatally shot while she sat in a car in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Cloverleaf, Texas.
Her mother, 30-year-old LaPorsha Washington, and her three sisters were in the vehicle during the time of the crime.
The sister, who spoke to authorities, initially described the murderer as a thin white man, in his 30’s-40’s, driving a red pickup.
Activists and investigators believed the shooting was racially motivated.
A sketch of the Caucasian killer had been circulating in the media, but the sad story took a surprising twist after Mr. Black was arrested.
Mr. Black is African American and is said to be affiliated to a gang.
He told police that the bullet that fatally struck the child was intended for a rival gang member.
Maj. Jesse Razo, of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said this about the case: “They’re devastated. They lost a sister, especially during this holiday season. It’s tough. The family of Jazmine Barnes says she, her sisters and mom were supposed to make a quick trip to the store today. The family was in town- they were enjoying the holidays together. Little Jazmine never made it home.”
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez added: “Please keep this family in your prayers. A total of 5 occupants in the car witnessed this innocent child, their loved one, shot and killed before their eyes. So senseless. It’s never easy, and extra hard during the holiday season.”
A GoFundMe has been created to aid the family pay for Jazmine’s funeral, and it has raised over $80,000 thus far.
Via Twitter, DeAndre Rashaun Hopkins, the wide receiver for the Houston Texans, has pledged to donate his pay for this week’s NFL playoff game to the family of the young victim.
His emotional tweet said in part: "When I see Jazmine Barnes' face, I see my own daughter. I'm pledging my playoff check this week to help her family with funeral costs."
Did the media rush in pushing the race angle of this tragedy?