Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Activist tip led police to suspect in Jazmine Barnes killing

Activist tip led police to suspect in Jazmine Barnes killing

Two suspects were arrested in the shooting death of 7-year-old Texas girl Jazmine Barnes, and officials said the men fired at the vehicle by mistake.

Black, 20, was arrested Saturday night in Texas and admitted to taking part in the shooting, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said. Washington, the mother, told reporters that the shooter was a white man with blue eyes who was so skinny that he looked "sick".

A lawyer for the Barnes family now says the white man that police described as a suspect was "simply a bystander trying to escape the shooting".

Police say they do not think Barnes' family was the intended target of the shooting, calling the death a possible "result of mistaken identity".

Amid the new allegations, the sheriff's office tweeted that "all evidence gathered so far in the Jazmine Barnes Homicide case supports investigators' strong belief that she and her family were innocent victims".

"Mr. Black has acknowledged his role in Jazmine's murder", Gonzalez said.

Jazmine was shot and killed when someone opened fire on the vehicle she was in with her mother and three sisters in East Harris County on the morning of December 30. A rally in Houston on Saturday attracted about 1,000 people.

Washington, along with multiple witnesses at the scene, described the shooter as a hooded white man in a red pickup truck.

The case attracted nationwide attention. People held up balloons and stuffed animals, as well as signs that said "Justice for Jazmine".

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Police say there is another suspect involved.

In an emotional speech, Jazmine's aunt, Sharonica Watt, asked her niece's killer why he took the little girl's life.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a black Democrat who represents parts of Houston, said there was nothing irresponsible about the early suggestions it was a hate crime.

"We are out here to support her because being a family and to lose your daughter as in a situation like this is a tragedy", said one attendee. Gonzalez said it was dark, the shooting happened quickly, and the truck was probably the last thing seen by Jazmine's family.

Court records did not list an attorney for Black, who was arrested on Saturday afternoon during a traffic stop.

Juanita Bell, who saw the arrest on the news, said her first thought was: "Something is wrong".

A $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. They've worked on several cases together over the years, including the killing of Antwon Rose II, a black teenager killed by police outside Pittsburgh in June. "Up until this point, at least four independent witnesses and a composite sketch had identified the primary suspect as a 40-something-year-old white male". Jazmine's mother, LaPorsha Washington, was driving with the children and was shot in the arm.

On Sunday, he also wrote on Twitter: "When Jazmine Barnes was killed I pledged to find who killed her".

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