As law enforcement hunted her killer, a community was grieving 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was shot to death while riding in a car with her mother and sisters when a man in a pickup truck, described as a middle-aged white man with a beard, pulled up next to them and began shooting. Jazmine was shot and killed. Her mother, LaPorsha Washington, 30, sustained a gunshot wound to her arm.
Two men, Eric Black Jr., 20, and Larry Woodruffe, 24, are charged with capital murder in her killing.
Washington was pulling out of a Wal-Mart parking lot in Cloverleaf, Texas before 7 a.m. Sunday when the shooting occurred.
Harris County Sheriff’s Maj. Jesse Razo and homicide detective Lt. Chris Sandoval said in a Sunday morning briefing that at around 7 a.m., police received a call about a shooting. Razo said that when sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found a vehicle stopped on the side of the main lanes of a beltway and inside were the family, Washington, the mother, and her daughters: Barnes, 7, two girls under 15 and a 6-year-old, who was injured possibly by shattered glass. The teens were physically unharmed.
But the second-grader was shot and died before paramedics could get her to a hospital.
Here’s what you need the know:
1. Jazmine Was Shot in the Head. Her Funeral Was Held Tuesday Jan. 8
Police said after the truck fired into the car, it took off. The man driving was identified as being a white man in his 40s, with a beard. The truck was a red or maroon pickup. After the family was fired on, Washington kept driving until a flat tire forced her to stop. In the backseat, her daughter was dead.
Journalist and activist Shaun King spoke to Jazmine’s family and her mother, who was initially hospitalized. King said, “It was a deliberate murder. He shot them, pulled closer and shot some more.”
King vowed that “on God,” he would not rest until the killer was brought to justice.
Black and Woodruffe are both held without bail and face the death penalty if convicted.
“Jazmine would soon be celebrating another birthday, instead her funeral is being planned.”
Her funeral was held Tuesday Jan. 8 at the Green House International Church in Houston.
2. Jazmine Was a Second Grader at Monahan Elementary School. Counselors Will Help Kids Process The Death & Their Grief
“Sheldon ISD joins the Sheldon community in mourning the loss of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes who was tragically shot and killed yesterday morning while riding in a vehicle, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office,” the statement from the school district’s Facebook page read in part.
“Jazmine was a second grader at Monahan Elementary and will truly be missed by all students and staff,” the post read.
“Although additional counselors will be assigned to Monahan Elementary on Jan. 8,” the schools asked if parents would “please break the news to their children now and comfort them while they are still on break.”
The district said funeral arrangements are not known, “but please visit sheldonisd.com or our Facebook page for updated information.
“…please pray for Jazmine’s family as law enforcement continues to conduct their investigation.”
One of Barnes’ former teachers, Jessica Berry, said the child “…loved life, family, and some simple things such as smell good (as she would say) lotions and body spray. She was a helper and sassy when needed to be. She was caring about others and made sure to always tell you she loved you. Jazmine didn’t deserve this. May God bring her the justice she deserves!!! Love you Jazmine ❤️”
“Her family called her ‘Jaz.'”
3. Jazmine’s Siblings Are Suffering: ‘They’re Devastated. They Lost a Sister’ & Her Father is Asking for Justice
“The family of 7-year old Jazmine Barnes says she, her sisters and mom were supposed to make a quick trip to the store today. Family was in town- they were enjoying the holidays together. Little Jazmine never made it home.”
Razo said the surviving girls are “…devastated. They lost a sister. Especially during this holiday season. It’s tough.”
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said, “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.”
“Justice 4 Jaz,” wrote Chris Cevilla.
He has also started a GoFundMe page. More than $13,000 had been raised as of Wednesday morning.
“Today my little girl Jazmine Barnes was shot and killed. Her mother and siblings were also shot at. Unfortunately, the life of my 7 yr old little girl was taken selfishly by an unknown suspect. I hope and pray for my family to find peace and justice for our loss. I could never imagine the day of losing one of my own children let alone the youngest in such a selfish and senseless way,” he wrote.
“I ask that family or friends that are able too please help and find it in y’all hearts to donate …to help with any expenses that our family may need during this tragedy. Rest In Heaven Jazmine, our beautiful princess. We love you and miss you!”
“I just want anybody, whoever, out there who knows anything about the murder of my daughter to just please step up as if it was your own,” Cevilla pleaded.
4. Outpouring of Prayer, Support & Condolences From the Community Filled Social Media & Some Discussed How to Tell Their Children, Jazmine’s School & Classmates
Five hours after posting a statement of grief, sadness and condolence, the Sheldon Independent School District’s Facebook message had nearly 1,000 people share or comment. praying hands, calls for justice for Jazmine, broken hearts and condolences, anger and tears. Teachers nad parents who knew her, and more that didn’t but all were nonetheless shocked and saddened.
“Rest in heaven, little angel,” one wrote. And many more like that.
On the Facebook page, a grandmother was concerned about her granddaughter, a classmate of Jazmine’s. Another parent said she was going to talk to her daughter before they head back to school Wednesday.
“You don’t want her to find out once she’s at school …” That was echoed by Sheldon schools.
5. Sheriff ‘Won’t Rest’ Until Barnes’ Killer’ is Caught & the $100,000 Cash Reward May Help, Police Released a Composite Sketch of the Suspect
“Our hearts go out to Jazmine’s grieving classmates and teachers at Monahan Elementary in @SheldonISD. We won’t rest until this precious child’s killer is brought to justice.”
Razo said “people who commit these types of crimes often talk” and he believes someone has information and asked for anyone with information contact the sheriff’s office. He added the suspect should turn himself in because, “we are looking for you, we will locate you, we will find you.”
Razo said the suspect is “considered armed and dangerous” and should not be approached; call 911.
Razo told reporters investigators were looking at surveillance video “from this entire area.” But on Monday, were asking for help from the community on that very point.
“Investigators ask all residents in the Wallisville Rd/E. Sam Houston Pwky area to review security video from the morning of 12/30. Looking for a red 4-door pickup involved in the fatal shooting of Jazmine Barnes, age 7. Call 713-274-9100 or @CrimeStopHOU at 713-222-TIPS.”
King tweeted, “I am joining the search for her killer…”
“Listen. I have $35,000 in cash for the person who turns in the murderer of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. You can contact me confidentially. And I can give you the money without anyone knowing it was you. Contact me at email@example.com or the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.”
By Thursday, the reward was up to $100,000.
Thursday the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, working with the surviving sisters of Jazmine Barnes and witnesses, created a composite sketch of the suspect.
A white male, thin build, between 30 and 40 years old.
“This is the man witnesses say murdered 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes on 12/30 as her family drove on the E. Sam Houston Pkwy frontage road at Wallisville Road. Thin white man, 30’s-40’s, in a red pickup. Call 713-221-6000 or @CrimeStopHOU at 713-222-TIPS #JusticeForJazmine #hounews”
This is a developing story.