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HOUSTON (AP) — Two men suspected in a drive-by shooting that killed a 7-year-old black Houston girl and that was initially investigated as a possible hate crime mistakenly thought they were attacking people whom they had fought with at a club hours earlier, a prosecutor said Monday.

One of the men, Eric Black Jr., appeared in court Monday on a capital murder charge in the Dec. 30 killing of Jazmine Barnes. Black, 20, didn’t speak during the brief hearing or answer reporters’ questions as he was being led into the courtroom. His lawyer, Alvin Nunnery, didn’t speak to the media after the hearing and didn’t immediately reply to a call seeking comment.

Black, who is African-American, was arrested Saturday during a traffic stop. Prosecutors allege that he told investigators he was driving the SUV from which an unidentified passenger fired at Jazmine, her three sisters and mother as they were on their way to a grocery store.

Authorities have declined to name the suspected shooter or say whether he has been arrested, but Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he is also black.

The girl’s family and activists had believed the shooting was a hate crime. Gonzalez had said he was aware of these concerns and investigators looked into the possibility that race could have played a role. But Gonzalez declined to state a specific motive for the shooting before any arrests were made.

Based on the family’s account of what happened, authorities initially believed that a white man in a red pickup truck was behind the attack. But they later received a tip that sent the case in a new direction from Shaun King, a civil rights activist who writes about racial issues and has a large social media following. The tip implicated two black men in the shooting.

Prosecutor Samantha Knecht told a judge Monday that the unidentified passenger fired on the family’s car in a case of mistaken identity, thinking it belonged to people he and Black had fought with at a club hours before the shooting. She declined to comment about the second suspect.

Gonzalez said there was, in fact, a red pickup truck driven by a white man seen at a stoplight just before the shooting, but the driver didn’t appear to have been involved. The sheriff said it was dark, the shooting happened quickly, and the red truck was probably the last thing seen by Jazmine’s family. He said authorities believe Jazmine’s family has been truthful during the investigation.

Throughout the investigation, Gonzalez stressed that he and his investigators would not stop working on behalf of Jazmine, and activists and elected officials praised him and other investigators for their efforts.

Deric Muhammad, an organizer of a rally that took place on Saturday in Houston to demand “Justice for Jazmine,” commended Gonzalez for working with the community to collect evidence that led to Black’s arrest.

“We are still heartbroken at the thought of a 7-year-old innocent child losing her life in such a violent way,” Muhammad said in a statement. “We are no less heartbroken that those person(s) currently charged with this homicide are Black; not White.”

Gonzalez cautioned that authorities were still investigating, but said: “At this point, it does not appear it was related to race.”

Prosecutors said the 9 mm handgun they believe was used in the shooting was recovered from Black’s home.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a black Democrat who represents parts of Houston in Congress, said the community came together to help solve the case.

“It’s wonderful to have a sheriff who’s willing to engage in a dialogue about violence, about hate, about guns and we have that along with the (police chief), the mayor of our city,” Lee said.

James Dixon, a prominent pastor in Houston, also thanked Gonzalez for working around the clock during the investigation.

“We are blessed in this city to have the kind of collegial relationships between pastors and law enforcement and elected officials where we all really work together, we cry together, we pray together, we serve together and sacrifice together,” Dixon said.

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16 thoughts on “Nightclub Fight Led To Shooting That Killed Jazmine Barnes

  1. African American Woman on said:

    It doesn’t make sense to make up a story about a white man in a red truck shooting at them. Is the mother trying to hide something? There have also been white people who’ve lied about black people committing crimes against them as well as a ruse to cover up their own misdeeds. You cannot tell me that when someone drives up on you and shoots at you that you don’t see something-whether it be the car, the person shooting, the passenger. Someone shooting at you from a car has to slow down a bit to shoot at you. And no, I don’t believe this was an “innocent’ case of mistaken identity. When other races do this to us, we automatically condemn them as racist, etc…this is no different

    • African American Woman how many times have you’ve been fired upon? How many time have you been thrown into a chaotic situation and been able to assess everything happening around you? Unless you’ve experience that scenario you cannot authoritatively make that idiotic comment regardless of your rights to your opinion.

      • I don’t need to be fired on to know that you have to slow down enough to fire. That’s plain ole’ common sense and basic physics…AND if they”didn’t see” who shot into the car, why make up a story that they saw a white man in a pick up truck do it? Controversy??? I know your brain didn’t think that far. And if someone shot at my car; I’m not making up a lie about it.

  2. Mac Daddy on said:

    Looking at her previous record is a big clue into LaPorsha’s activities. Multiple drug arrests. She was out for a fix, tried to skip out on paying and got served street justice. Given the times, place, and the fact that the driver was a Facebook friend, it makes perfect sense. Sorry if you don’t want to hear it, but this is reality

  3. I’m know someone who works at the jail where one of the suspects is being held, they said that the mother was buying drugs and tried to drive off without paying so they shot in the vehicle.

  4. stephanie Jones on said:

    Over a night club fight, these dick less coward killed that beautiful little angel. These gun toting fools are weak,coward, punks,fight with your fist if you must, at lease everyone involve lives to see another day,a gun is so final

  5. Savella on said:

    Dammed if she do, Dammed if she don”t. What in the world difference did that make? You”d have criticized her had she left them at home as a neglectful Mom. You cannot blame her for having her children with her.Maybe that’s what they do as a family.Anything could have happened at home. YOU people need to get a life, just give the family condolences. They’ve caught at least 1 of them.GET THE SHOOTER.

  6. To answer the question why did she take her kids to the grocery store? Because if she had left them at home and something major happened, like a house fire, she would have been accused of child neglect. Stop asking stupid questions!

  7. None of this story makes any damn sense.

    My question is this–Why did Jazmine’s mother take all of her kids out at seven in the morning, because she wanted coffee. One of the kids is a teenager, so that child could’ve remained
    home and babysat her siblings.

    Then the mother claims to have seen a Red pickup truck and a white guy speeding from the shooting. How was that even possible, IF she was face down in her car trying to protect
    her children from the bullets with her body.

    Now, it seems like, Jazmine and her family were just innocent bystanders and the shooting
    was a gang-related drive-by.

    No matter, a precious, innocent seven yr old LOST her life due to a SENSELESS COLD-BLOODED act of violence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Savella on said:

      Dammed if she do, Dammed if she don”t. What in the world difference did that make? You”d have criticized her had she left them at home as a neglectful Mom. You cannot blame her for having her children with her.Maybe that’s what they do as a family.Anything could have happened at home. YOU people need to get a life, just give the family condolences. They’ve caught at least 1 of them.GET THE SHOOTER.

    • Joanne Hendy on said:

      The only part of your response that makes sense is the last sentence. I was in NY over the Christmas holiday visiting family. I got up at 7:00 am to go a walk, my 7 year old nephew and 10 year old niece (I was staying with their parents) wanted to come with me, so we all got dressed, went for a walk, and got hot chocolate on the way back. Tell me, what is wrong with that. Maybe the kids wanted to go for a ride. Were you ever a child?

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