Investigation Into Drive-By Shooting of Child Takes a ‘New Direction’

Investigators are now calling the shooting of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes a case of mistaken identity after witnesses believed a white man in a red pickup truck was responsible for her Dec. 30 murder, but officials said Sunday that two different men have been taken into custody and one has been charged with capital murder.

Barnes was killed while sitting in the backseat of her mother’s car with her three sisters as they drove out of a Walmart parking lot in northeast Houston on Dec. 30. Her mother, LaPorsha Washington, was also shot when a car pulled up and began spraying bullets.

The case garnered national attention after Washington said she believed the case to be a hate crime after she and her family identified the shooter in the apparently random attack to be a white male. . .

Authorities originally reported the suspect to be a white man driving a red pickup truck based on accounts of the shooting from Barnes’s family, but the Harris County Sheriff’s Office tweeted late Saturday that the investigation had “taken a new direction.”

Homicide investigators subsequently filed a capital murder charge against Eric Black Jr., 20, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office, who had been identified as a suspect based on a tip. He later admitted to taking part in the shooting.

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‪I’ll go ahead and state the obvious. 24 y/o Larry Woodruffe doesn’t fit the description offered by the 4 different witness statements or composite sketch. Accordingly, this tip was difficult to believe. Assuming the confession elicited is reliable— it is possible the previously identified suspect seen fleeing by several independent witnesses was a bystanader attempting to escape the shooting. To observers, however, he appeared to be the shooter himself. ‬More information will have to be drawn out before there is a conviction. Nonetheless, the community is collectively responsible for obtaining evidence that has led to a credible arrest and we are closer to answers. That much is laudable.

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