Texas police have arrested Eric Black, Jr. in connection with the murder of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes and charged him with capital murder, CNN is reporting.
Barnes was shot and killed on December 30, as the Daily Beast reported last week, in the parking lot of a Houston Walmart. The girl and her family were sitting in their vehicle, minding their own business, when a red pickup truck pulled up to them and a gunman opened fire, shooting several rounds into the vehicle. Seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes was shot in the head and killed. Her mother, LaPorsha Washington, was injured, as was a six-year-old girl also in the car. Two teens in the car were not injured.
Washington described the assailant as a “white man with no beard,” possibly in his 40’s, and police initially had little to go on but her description of the assailant and his vehicle. A week-long manhunt ensued, with celebrities and community activists coming to decry the senseless murder of a young child.
However, on Sunday, police announced that they had made an arrest in the case: 20-year-old Eric Black, Jr. Police say he was arrested based on a tip, and that he has allegedly admitted to being involved in the shooting.
BREAKING: @HCSOTexas have charged 20 YO Eric Black Jr. for the murder of 7 YO Jazmine Barnes. Black has confessed. Authorities say Jazmines family was NOT the intended target- appears to be case of mistaken identity. Wow. #Abc13 #JusticeforJazminehttps://t.co/8hsolAlyIO pic.twitter.com/Lut0s1JQl8— Stefania Okolie (@StefaniaOnABC13) January 6, 2019
Specifically, according to the San Antonio Express-News, Black was arrested Saturday for a minor traffic infraction. Police also allegedly found marijuana on him, and then recognized him as their suspect.
When taken downtown for questioning, Black allegedly admitted to killing Jazmine, saying that Barnes was not the intended victim and that the whole thing was a “case of mistaken identity.”
Black, who is in his 20’s, has facial hair, and is African American, clearly does not match Washington’s description of her daughter’s murderer as a white, bearded man in his 40’s. Houston civil rights activist Shaun King believes that Washington wasn’t describing her daughter’s assailant, but rather an innocent bystander who tried to flee the scene for his own safety, and got confused in the heat of the moment.
“It appears that man was an innocent bystander who fled, actually fearing for his life as well. He was not the shooter.”
Meanwhile, it appears that Black may not be the only suspect in this case. During questioning, he allegedly admitted to being only the delivery driver. He reportedly told police that the shooter was a man named Larry Woodruffe. A man with that name has indeed been booked into an area jail on an unrelated drug crime; as of this writing, he has not been charged in connection with Jazmine’s murder.
Eric Black, Jr. remains behind bars on $100,000 bond. Though he is eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors have not yet indicated if they plan to seek it.