Local police, ATF Texas Rangers, the FBI, and even NASA, are helping in the search for the suspect who shot and killed a 7-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting near a Houston-area Walmart store on the morning of December 30.
Just two days before the new year, Jazmine Barnes, an African American child, was killed by a man in a black hoodie, described to be in his 30s or 40s and driving a red pickup truck.
While the suspect is still at large, the case has gained national prominence — and tips and support for the family are pouring in.
Various celebrities, too, have joined the effort to find Jazmine’s killer with Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins pledging to donate his football playoff game check to the family and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal offering to pay for the funeral costs.
Barnes was in a car last Sunday with her three sisters and mother, LaPorsha Washington, 30, who was shot in the left shoulder. According to local reports, the family was headed to a grocery store, “excited to buy coffee for [their] 87-year-old uncle.”
The four-door truck then pulled up alongside them as they passed the Walmart, Washington described.
“I replayed this moment, in my head over a million times. Did I see?” Washington told KHOU. “Did I cut this man off? Did I make a wrong turn in front of him? Did I stop him from getting out of the Walmart, from whatever he was doing, did I do anything wrong to cause this man to fire shots in my car?
“And I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t make a wrong turn. I didn’t get over in his lane. I didn’t do none of that. He fired off at us for no reason. None.”
A sketch of the suspect and surveillance video released by the police this week — which the Harris County Sheriff’s Office asked NASA to help enhance — have led to “many potential leads” that are currently being investigated the policy said.
Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt and activist Shaun King are offering a $100,000 reward; the two have been helping organize online appeals for information which they are bringing to the police.
“You caused harm. You hurt. You took. You don’t deserve to be out there to take another life,” Washington said from her hospital bed in a message to the shooter.
This story has been updated following news of an arrest in the case late Saturday. While earlier reports said witnesses described the shooter as a white man, police arrested an African American man, Eric Black, Jr., and charged him with capital murder in the shooting. A second man, Larry Woodruffe, was also arrested in the case.