20-year-old Eric Black Jr. has been charged with capital murder in the shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. He has been deemed as the getaway driver, according to authorities.
Black Jr. was arrested on Saturday after he was pulled over for not using a turn signal, then found marijuana in his vehicle. After authorities took him in for questioning, Black allegedly said the slaying was a mistake, and the family was never the intended target.
“Now my baby has gotten justice,” Barnes’ father Christopher Cevilla said outside the Harris County Jail. “Now we can properly put her to rest without having to put her to rest and we’re still on a manhunt looking for a suspect.”
During Black’s court appearance on Sunday, prosecutors identified Larry Woodruffe as the second suspect and the man who pulled the trigger. As of Sunday night, Woodruffe has not been charged and currently sits in the Harris County jail on unrelated drug charges.
Last Sunday, Barnes was sitting in a vehicle near a Walmart along the East Beltway and Wallisville as she and her mother were going to Joe V’s to get coffee. According to police, someone in a red, four-door pickup truck pulled alongside her family’s vehicle and opened fire.
But according to Shaun King, the driver of the red truck was mistaken as the suspect when the driver had simply driven away from the gunfire.
“It appears that man was an innocent bystander who fled, actually fearing for his life as well,” King tweeted. “He was not the shooter.”
In the wake of the killing, thousands have sent their condolences to the family as celebrities and community activists have offered to assist with the funeral expenses of Barnes. Deandre Hopkins pledged his game check from the Houston Texans’ playoff game to assist and Shaquille O’Neal and another officer have donated a cashier’s check to cover expenses.
Statement from the Harris County Sherrif’s Office:
Harris County Sheriff’s Office homicide investigators have filed a capital murder charge against Eric Black Jr. (DOB: 10/10/1998) for the Dec. 30 shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes.
Investigators identified Black as a suspect based on a tip.
Subsequent investigation revealed evidence that corroborated the tip, and Black was taken into custody in East Harris County without incident.
Black then admitted to taking part in the shooting. Investigators are continuing to pursue evidence that could possibly lead to other suspects being charged in this case.
Jazmine’s mother was driving Jazmine and her three sisters southbound on the East Sam Houston Parkway feeder road near Wallisville Road at approximately 6:50 a.m. when they were fired upon by someone in another vehicle.
At this time, investigators do not believe Jazmine’s family was the intended target of the shooting, and that they were possibly shot as a result of mistaken identity.
“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,” Sheriff Ed 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.”
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.
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