Jazmine Barnes’ mother, 30-year-old LaPorsha Washington, was injured in a drive-by shooting. It was just after 7 a.m. in Harris County, Texas on Dec. 30. Her four daughters, all in pajamas, were in the car. Washington said she left her house at 6:30 a.m. to drive to a store 20 minutes to buy coffee.
As she passed a Wal-Mart, Washington’s vehicle was fired upon and she continued to drive with a gunshot wound to her arm. One of her daughters, a six-year-old, suffered minor injuries from shattered window glass. But Jazmine, 7, was shot in the head and died.
A manhunt was soon underway for the shooter, described by Washington, her daughters, and others as a white middle-aged man driving a red pickup truck. It’s now clear that was a description of a witness fleeing the shooting and not Jazmine’s killer.
The next day, Washington described in detail from her hospital bed what occurred and how the fired on her car, seemingly randomly. Law enforcement says now that it was a gang-related shooting and Washington and her daughters were mistakenly identified as the targets by the two men that will face capital murder charges in the case.
“All evidence gathered so far in the Jazmine Barnes Homicide case supports investigators’ strong belief that she and her family were innocent victims,” the sheriff tweeted.
But someone who has studied the case and indeed said he delivered the alleged killers to authorities, activist and journalist Shaun King, is now questioning the “timeline.”
King says “something’s not right.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Eric Black Jr., 20, Charged with Capital Murder Could Face the Death Penalty if Convicted. Larry Woodruffe, the Reported Shooter, Has Not Yet Been Officially Charged
The Harris County Texas Sheriff’s Office filed capital murder charges against Eric Black Jr in the killing of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. Investigators say he’s confessed.
Black, 20, was identified as a suspect based on a tip, police said.
“Subsequent investigation revealed evidence that corroborated the tip, and Black was taken into custody in East Harris County without incident. Black then admitted to taking part in the shooting,” a statement from the sheriff’s department read.
“Investigators are continuing to pursue evidence that could possibly lead to other suspects being charged in this case.”
That other suspect is Larry Woodruffe, 24, who is expected to be charged in the killing. S. Lee Merritt, the lawyer for the girl’s family, King, and Houston-area local media have reported that Woodruffe is the suspected shooter.
Court records show Woodruffe was taken into custody in the very early morning hours Sunday, but on drug charges, with a $100,000 bond.
2. Washington Has a Decade-Long Felony Criminal History. In a ’08 Robbery, She Threatened to Shoot a Female Victim
Heavy has combed through documents in the public record including law enforcement and prosecution charging documents.
Washington’s record in Harris County includes half a dozen cases over the past decade including three felony theft cases, two drugs cases, and one where she was charged with hiding a felon wanted for robbery; hindering apprehension.
In a 2008 case, when she was just 19, in a police probable cause document, a female victim robbed by Washington said the then-teen had a gun and threatened to shoot her.
And Washington’s criminal history extends beyond Harris County.
In nearby Fort Bend County, according to court records, she was convicted of felony theft in 2016. She was ordered to serve time in a Texas state penitentiary. She was given credit for serving 147 days in jail as she forfeited her bond. She ended up serving six months in prison.
Despite her criminal history, as of Sunday, Jan. 6 just before 3 a.m., the Harris County Sheriff said its investigators believed that based on “all evidence gathered so far” Jazmine “and her family were innocent victims.”
But Washington has a connection to at least one of the suspects, Eric Black Jr.
4. In the Hospital, Washington Told Reporters ‘This Man Fired Off’ at the Family ‘For No Reason’
“Did I make a wrong turn,” Washington pleaded from her hospital bed. “Did I cut this man off,” she continued. The man “fired off at us for no reason.”
Washington was recorded by several news stations while hospitalized for treatment of a gunshot wound to her arm. In a separate video, Washington said as she and her daughters were being fired on, the killer who she identified as one man in a truck, “didn’t just stop there. He sped off and stopped again and still continued to fire at us.”
Washington said that after she and her daughters were fired on, she looked back and saw that Jazmine “was not moving, she was not breathing …she was gone.”
Washington said she told one daughter to call 911 and the other to Google the nearest hospital. She said she began driving again, she said making a U-turn and headed toward the hospital 7 minutes away but had to stop, she said, because she had a flat tire.
4. Shaun King, Who Spoke to Washington the Day After the Killing, Now Says ‘Something’s Not Right’
King wrote on Instagram, “… the two men that actually shot and killed Jazmine drove off in a completely different direction through the neighborhood. They each later claimed that they thought they were shooting someone from a rival gang. Yes, they did it.”
“On this past Thursday, a brave witness came to me to report that Larry Woodruffe and Eric Black, Jr. actually shot and killed 7 year old Jazmine Barnes and that Jazmine’s mother and family and 4 other eyewitnesses had confused a white man who sped off in his truck as the shooter. I reported this to the Sheriff immediately, because the witness was so compelling, but the sheriff and I both just could not make sense of it. 4 different eyewitnesses thought the shooter was the white man in the truck. It wasn’t. It was these men. We received so many bad tips, and so much misinformation, it just took us 3 days to solve it after the initial report was made. Let me tell you the story of the red truck and how it came to be the focus of this investigation. Two men, in a completely different vehicle, pulled up and shot and killed Jazmine Barnes, shot her mother, and injured her sisters. Jazmine and the girls were still in pajamas. Her mother and the girls never saw the shooter. They heard the shots, saw that Jazmine was shot in the head, that her mother was shot, and then looked up and saw this red truck with a white man driving it peeling off. THREE separate eyewitnesses, each credible, who also heard the shooting, also saw this truck speeding off. I spoke to each of them. They also assumed the white man driving it fired the shots. A brave man even followed the red truck in his own car and got a good look at him. A tow truck driver also saw the truck and got a look at him. In the meantime, the two men that actually shot and killed Jazmine drove off in a completely different direction through the neighborhood. They each later claimed that they thought they were shooting someone from a rival gang. Yes, they did it. No, they weren’t framed. It just took several days to solve it.”
“When Jazmine Barnes was killed I pledged to find who killed her. We did that. The men who were arrested shot her. That I know. But I’ve studied this case for nearly 60 hours. And something’s not right. Key details are missing in the story. I no longer trust the timeline.”
5. It Was Previously Reported That Washington is Facebook Friends With an ‘Eric’ on Facebook Who Says He’s a Crip. That Individual is Not the Same Person Charged in Her Daughter’s Murder
Washington goes by Porsha Washington and Porsha ToReal on Facebook. Heavy reported that she is Facebook friends with a user with a name similar to the man now charged in the murder of her daughter. That individual’s family has said the he’s not the same man.
Eric Black Jr. is being held in the Harris County jail without bond. Police said he confessed.
This story has been corrected to remove the name of an individual on Facebook who is not Eric Black Jr.