9 Things To Know About The Killing Of Jazmine Barnes
The shooter, who is currently identified as a white 40-something-year-old, man pulled up in a red pickup truck before opening fire into the vehicle which held Jazmine, her mother and Jazmine's three siblings.
Here are 9 things you should know about the investigation:
1. Jazmine's mother was going to get coffee when the tragedy occurred.
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Washington was driving to Joe V's, a local coffee shop, when they passed a nearby Walmart. It was there that the gunman opened fire.
"As I turned around and looked back at the street, I heard shots start firing and they came through my window, broke my glass, and hit me in my arm," Washington said in a statement to ABC13. "They sped off in front of us and the truck slowed down and continued to fire as he was in front of us. It was not fair. It was not fair. He intentionally killed my child for no reason. He didn't even know her, he didn't know who she was."
2. The murder is believed to be a hate crime.
According to Fox 26 Houston, there were white bystanders who were injured during the shooting, including Deborah Louis, who suffered a gunshot wound to her hip. But the attorney for Jazmine’s family and other community activists believe that the incident was racially motivated.
“We do believe that it was racially motivated in part because our nation at this moment is highly racially charged,” Lee Merritt stated.
Community activist Deric Muhammad linked this murder with another murder of two African-Americans in Houston on August 30, 2017.
“It’s apparent Black people are under attack in this particular part of the city,” Muhammad said.
3. A sketch was released of the suspected killer's photo.
Forensic artist Lois Gibson sketched a photo of the accused killer from detailed descriptions of the man. KHOU 11 reports that Gibson's work has led to more than 1,200 arrests.
“(The killer) was really pale,” Washington said. “So, surprise. Maybe he’s been in prison because in this town you’re going to get a tan.”
“They were speechless mostly,” Gibson said of the family's reaction to the sketch. “But the momma told me it’s perfect.”
The Houston County Sheriff's office released a photo of the sketch via Twitter and explained the man's features in detail.
"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," the department wrote.
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 pic.twitter.com/URR3w2Wxbm— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) January 3, 2019'
4. This may not be his first crime targeting Black families.
Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who is representing Jazmine's family, said he believes that this is not the first time the shooter committed a crime against Black families. He took to Twitter to share a series of tweets about three 2017 incidents involving a white male perpetrator in a car matching the description of that which was driven Jazmine's killer.
"1. This isn’t the first time that a black family was ambushed by an unknown white male. The exact same thing happened on August 30, 2017 to A’Vonta Williams and his girlfriend’s grandmother," Merritt wrote.
1. This isn’t the first time that a black family was ambushed by an unknown white male. The exact same thing happened on August 30, 2017 to A’Vonta Williams and his girlfriend’s grandmother. https://t.co/IGANfzI65u— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 2, 2019'
2. The previous shooter was white male in a silver pickup truck and he is still at large. pic.twitter.com/aJ0zAQJptJ— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 2, 2019'
"3. The shootings occurred in the exact same stretch of highway adjacent to the same Wal-Mart located in Humble,TX off Loop 8 and Wallisville," Merritt continued in another post.
3. The shootings occurred in the exact same stretch of highway adjacent to the same Wal-Mart located in Humble,TX off Loop 8 and Wallisville. pic.twitter.com/KImtsjPy3F— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 2, 2019'
"Activists who pushed the Sheriff’s department to investigate that shooting said at least one more similar shooting took place in the area not long before the August 2017 shooting," he concluded.
4. Activists who pushed the Sheriff’s department to investigate that shooting said at least one more similar shooting took place in the area not long before the August 2017 shooting. pic.twitter.com/haXbm3YOHf— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 2, 2019'
5. Investigators say there have been no major developments in the case, yet.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez stated to CNN during a news conference that there are tips surfacing about the case but none significant enough to draw any conclusions. He noted that it's important that the agency and partners stay proactive and they are increasing patrols to ensure additional visibility to bring justice for Jazmine.
"I can say that we are receiving tips and we are going through those, but we still have to vet them," he shared. "We want to make sure that we get the right person as quickly as possible."
"We want to make sure we get this violent, heinous killer off our streets," he continued.
6. Jazmine's mother, who was injured in the incident, is begging the shooter to turn himself in.
The Houston Chronicle reported that LaPorsha Washington pleaded for the shooter to turn himself in during a Thursday press conference. Washington was injured along with her other children after the gunfire sent shards of glass through the vehicle. She said she believes the man will turn himself in after he sees the images of Jazmine circulating throughout the media.
"It's going to have to be him. It's going to be him," she said. "His conscience is finally going to get to him. After seeing my daughter's face going across TV so many times, he's going to turn himself in."
KPRC2 reporter Sophia Beausoleil posted a tweet of Washington pleading alongside her family.
"This afternoon the family of #JazmineBarnes spoke to the media about the investigation and are hoping the suspected killer turns himself in," Beausoleil wrote.
7. There's a $100,000 reward for the gunman's capture.
When news broke of Jazmine's death, journalist and civil rights activist Shaun King joined lawyer Lee Merritt in offering a $35,000 reward to find Barnes' 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," he wrote. "And I can give you the money without anyone knowing it was you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Harris County Sheriff’s Office"
Listen. I have $35,000 in cash for the person who turns in the murderer of 7 year old Jazmine Barnes.— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 1, 2019'
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. pic.twitter.com/PDUsgUyHLU
"Our reward to find the killer of 7 year old Jazmine Barnes is now $75,000. We will not stop until we find this man and bring him to justice. If you know ANYTHING, anything at all, email me directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or contact @HCSOTexas & @SheriffEd_HCSO," he wrote in a second tweet.
Our reward to find the killer of 7 year old Jazmine Barnes is now $75,000.— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 3, 2019'
We will not stop until we find this man and bring him to justice.
If you know ANYTHING, anything at all, email me directly @ email@example.com or contact @HCSOTexas & @SheriffEd_HCSO https://t.co/C11yqHUO4H
"Our reward for the arrest of the killer of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes is now $100,000," King wrote in his last statement.
Rally on Saturday.— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 3, 2019'
Funeral on Tuesday.
We should not have to be doing any of this, but here we are.
Our reward for the arrest of the killer of 7 year old Jazmine Barnes is now $100,000.
Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org with tips and leads. Strictly confidential. pic.twitter.com/IVrLajKJVm
8. A rally in Jazmine's honor is taking place on Saturday.
Houston Public Media reports that a community rally will be held on Saturday at the Walmart parking lot at 5655 East Sam Houston Parkway at noon near the shooting site.
On Tuesday, a funeral service and balloon release will take place at noon at the Green House International Church.
9. Many celebrities have voiced concern.
Celebrities like Ava Duvernay and Bun B have taken to social media to share their outrage over the young girl's slaying and to demand justice:
The mother of #JazmineBarnes on the fatal shooting of her 7-year old daughter. Killer pulled up to the family in his red truck and fired shots directly into their car. Jazmine died at the scene. Dec 30. Houston. Murderer is a white male, 40s and is still at large. #SayHerName pic.twitter.com/OlDWJ0DPOO— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 2, 2019'
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 and to support @shaunking @SherriffED_HCSO @SylvesterTurner in bringing this man to justice. On Saturday, I will be playing in your honor, Jazmine pic.twitter.com/oCRYSgfGO9— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) January 3, 2019'
Please help find this murderer if you can. https://t.co/aFCq71RlBS— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) January 2, 2019'
Find him! This evil monster must be stopped! https://t.co/dUUArkowcX— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) January 2, 2019'
Anyone with information is encouraged to call 713-274-9100 or contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Anonymous tips can be delivered online at www.Crime-Stoppers.org.
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