After multiple sources including NBC reported that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office had located and interviewed persons of interest in relation to the shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes in Houston, Texas, officials have announced the arrest of 20-year-old Eric Black Jr..
Black, a black man who police identified based on a tip, has been charged with capital murder after admitting a role in the shooting. According to the Harris County Sheriff’s office, authorities are pursuing other suspects believed to be involved.
Investigators believe Black opened fire on the family due to a case of mistaken identity.
On December 30th, Barnes was struck by gunfire from an unknown gunman. Barnes’ mother, LaPorsha Washington, was shot in the arm. The family was exiting a Walmart parking lot after a morning trip to a local coffee shop.
Immediately after the assailant drove away, Washington’s other daughters alerted their mother that Barnes was unresponsive. She had been shot in the head.
On December 31, Barnes’ father, Christopher Cevilla, pleaded with the public for help during a news conference.
“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,” Cevilla told reporters. “Just put yourself in my shoes, in my family’s shoes.”
Early Sunday, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez expressed gratitude in a press release.
“I am grateful to our dedicated investigators, the partner law enforcement agencies that provided vital assistance, and tipsters from across the nation who pulled together to support our work to get justice for Jazmine,” Gonzalez said. “Our work is not finished, but I believe the people of Harris County can take comfort in knowing we have made great progress.”
On January 4th, police released a sketch of the assailant, asking the public for any information that could lead to his arrest. The shooter was originally believed to be a white male in his 30s or 40s.
They also released surveillance footage of the suspect’s truck.
In the days after Barnes’ death, the case received increased attention due to a reward set out by online activist Shaun King. Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins pledged his playoff game check of $29,000 to Barnes family after hearing about the case.
Appearing at a rally on January 5th, Washington expressed her faith that the shooter would be brought to justice. Hours later, the sheriff’s office announced they had located persons of interest.
“It is going to be ‘Justice for Jazmine.’ I feel it in my heart, because there are too many people out here looking for this man,” Washington said, according to Houston Chronicle. “We’re going to find him, no matter where we got to turn and no matter what rock we got to go under. We’re going to find you.”
Anyone with information that may prove helpful to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS or 713-221-6000.