Jazmine Barnes shooting: man charged with murder in seven-year-old's death

Houston police have arrested and charged two men they say are responsible for the senseless murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was gunned down in a Walmart parking lot last Sunday.

After almost a week of investigating, the Harris County Sheriff's Office announced the charge early Sunday morning against 20-year-old Eric Black Jr.

A tip from the public helped police identify Black, who is now in custody in East Harris County.

While the family has said they believe the attack was racially motivated, officials said they now believe the shooting was a possible case of mistaken identity, and Jazmine and her family were not the intended targets.

People from across the country - including activists and celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Olivia Wilide and Ava DuVernay - had been trying to help with the investigation since the December 30 drive-by shooting.

Law enforcement sources told KSAT's sister station in Houston, KPRC, they had a person in custody Saturday, almost a week after Barnes was shot to death while riding in a auto with her sisters and mother.

Lee Merritt, a national civil rights attorney working with Jazmine's family, said there were no updates in the search on Saturday.

The father of a 7-year-old black girl who was fatally shot as her family drove to a grocery store in Houston says he's relieved an arrest has been made in his daughter's death.

Investigators said they are pursuing additional evidence that might lead them to charge other suspects in the case. Three other children were in the auto at the time. "The source said that they did not realize the vehicle that they had shot into was the complainant's vehicle until seeing it on the news later in the day".

Activist Shaun King took to social media on January 1, 2019, to announce that he had teamed up with civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt of the Merritt Law Firm to initially offer a $35,000 reward for information regarding the suspect.

Black was driving a rental vehicle of unknown description and not a red pickup truck as originally thought by investigators, according to the complaint. He was believed to be wearing a black hoodie at the time of the shooting.

The girl's mother, who was wounded, said before the arrest that she believed the shooting was possibly a hate crime.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales described the suspect in a press conference on Thursday (Jan. 3).

The prosecutor added that the source, who communicated with the police via email, said Black and Larry W. did not know they had shot into the auto carrying the 7-year-old until they saw the story on the news later that day. That shooting remains unsolved. A rally was held in Houston on Saturday in honor of Jazmine.

Hundreds of people rallied in support of the Barnes family this weekend.

Jazmine's funeral is due to take place on Tuesday.

  • Rogelio Becker