Suspect Arrested, Charged in Jazmine Barnes’ Killing

Jazmine Barnes (Courtesy of DiversityInc)
Jazmine Barnes (Courtesy of DiversityInc)

By Sheryl Estrada

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement early Sunday that homicide investigators have filed a capital murder charge against Eric Black Jr., 20, for the shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes in Texas.

“Investigators identified Black as a suspect based on a tip,” states the sheriff’s office. “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.”

A second man, Larry Woodruffe, 24, has also been taken into custody, Lee Merritt, the Barnes family’s lawyer, said. According to Merritt, Woodruffe is “believed to be the shooter.”

The shooting occurred when Jazmine’s mother was driving Jazmine and her three sisters southbound on the East Sam Houston Parkway feeder road near Wallisville Road on Dec. 30. The shooter opened fire into their car.

“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,” the sheriff’s office said.

Both suspects in custody are Black, but on Thursday, police released a sketch of the suspected shooter who was believed to be a white man in his 30s or 40s.

Merritt addressed the shooter’s description in an Instagram post on Sunday:

“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 bystander 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.”

Activist Shaun King, who offered a reward for the arrest of the perpetrator, said, on Twitter, that he provided the sheriff’s office a tip leading to the men involved.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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