The family of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was killed in an unprovoked shooting at a Walmart parking lot, is sharing the heartbreaking details of the attack and its aftermath.
LaPorsha Washington, Jazmine’s mother, told CNN, “Every time I wake up I want it to be a dream.”
Washington, 30, who says she was shot in the arm while attempting to shield her eldest daughter from gun fire, spoke about the incident from a hospital bed. She has since been released.
On Sunday morning, a person described as “a bearded white male, possibly in his 40s” pulled up in a pickup truck and opened fire on the family while Washington drove them from a convenience store for a “pre-sunrise coffee run,” per CNN. It’s still impossible to confirm why this happened, but this country has become steadily more dangerous for black people in our current political climate.
Washington reportedly told her children in the back seat to get down as she attempted to escape the shooter. Following is the account Washington gave to KTRK:
“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. 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.”
After the shooting was over, one of her other daughters made the devastating discovery.
“She said, ‘Momma, Jazmine’s not moving. She’s not talking.’ I turned around and my 7-year-old was shot in the head.”
Jazmine’s life is forever lost, but her family and community are pushing for at least a little bit of justice, urging those around them to help find out who did this. CNN writes of Jazmine’s father:
“I just want anybody, whoever, out there that knows anything about the murder of my daughter, to just please step up as if it was your own,” an emotional Christopher Cevilla told reporters on Monday. “Just put yourself in my shoes, in my family’s shoes.”
Shaun King has offered a $35,000 cash reward for anyone to turn in the suspect, and hundreds of people have shared the Crime Stoppers image of the red pickup truck in question, imploring members of their community to help find the disgusting brute who did this.
Justice may serve to help Jazmine’s family and community feel better, and frankly, the person who committed this horrific act deserves to rot, but irreparable damage has already been done.
Cevilla said his daughter was “loving, caring, very passionate with people, very sweet, just a innocent young girl, very smart in school.”
He added: “It’s just a lot of things that’s been robbed of me and my family at this moment that we will never be able to get back.”
The Sheldon Independent School District said Jazmine was a second-grader at Monahan Elementary and “will truly be missed by all students and staff.”
Jazmine’s family lost a beautiful light in their lives—and there’s nothing that can replace that, nor is there anything that can truly heal the trauma of losing a family member, let alone violently, in front of your own eyes.
Washington has been in agony, having flashbacks of the day the shooting happened. “I’ve replayed this moment in my head over a million times to see, did I cut this man off? Did I make a wrong turn in front of him? Did I stop him from getting out of the Walmart for whatever he was doing—did I do anything wrong to cause this man to fire shots at my car? And I didn’t,” she told KHOU.
The fact that she’s even had to ask herself these things, to go through this, is a horrific reality of the trauma she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life—to say nothing of Jazmine’s sisters, only children themselves.
“Where’s my sister?” Jazmine’s 6-year-old sister reportedly asked Washington, per KTRK. “Is she coming back?”
Please keep their family in your thoughts.