On Tuesday, little Jazmine Barnes was laid to rest in an emotional ceremony over a week after she was brutally gunned down on December 30 in her mother’s car in Houston. The 7-year-old girl was traveling with her mother and two sisters on an early morning coffee run when a man started randomly shooting into their car, hitting the little girl in the head and killing her.
The shooting has devastated the Houston area, with police combing through thousands of tips in their search for the killer. Two days before her funeral, Eric Black Jr. was charged with capital murder. On Tuesday, the day of her funeral, a second man, 24-year-old Larry Woodruffe, was also charged with capital murder, according to a report by AOL.
Woodruffe is believed by the Harris County Sherriff’s Office to have been the man who actually fired the shots, while 20-year-old Black is suspected to have been the driver of the SUV the pair was traveling in at the time of the incident.
According to the police, the shooting was a case of mistaken identity, as the two men had thought the people in the vehicle were part of an earlier altercation with them at a nightclub.
Jazmine Barnes: Second man charged in drive-by shooting https://t.co/ipUmRyau2T— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) January 8, 2019
Shortly after the incident, the family spoke up to say they believed the attack had been racially motivated, as they had thought it was a middle-aged white man who had shot at them. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez thinks that description of the man Jazmine’s mother and sisters provided was sincere, but rather that of a bystander than the actual perpetrator of the crime.
The fact that both men being charged with capital murder in the case are African American negates the community’s original concern that the little girl’s death was as a result of a hate crime.
Jazmine’s death has shaken the city of Houston, with hundreds of people cramming themselves into the church to attend her funeral and mourn her tragic loss. As a result of the high profile case, tips poured into the police, and it was a result of those tips that law enforcement heard about Woodruffe and Black. Their investigation corroborated the tip.
Both men were taken into custody over the weekend, but Woodruffe was only charged on Tuesday as he was being held on an unrelated drug charge. He was finally charged with capital murder on Tuesday as Jazmine’s funeral took place.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke at the service, according to the New York Times.
“Jazmine is an innocent child. She was blameless. Because of her life I just want to believe that all of us will be better, that all of us will work harder, that all of us will strive to make this world a safer place for our children.”