A car trip early over the weekend before the new year ended in tragedy following the death of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes.
When LaPorsha Washington ventured out on what should have been a normal morning outing to get coffee, her life and the lives of her other children were changed forever. A 40-year-old white, unidentified gunman pulled alongside their vehicle in a pickup truck and opened fire. Afterward, Jazmine’s sister informed the bewildered mother that the second grader had been shot and wasn’t moving or talking.
Jazmine was pronounced dead at the scene and Washington, 30, was taken to a nearby hospital for being shot as well. Jazmine’s younger six-year-old sister was also injured by broken glass stemming from the windows being shot out.
Washington described her daughter’s final moments from her hospital bed.
“As I turned around and looked back at the street, I heard shots start firing and they came through my window, broke my glass, and hit me in my arm. They sped off in front of us and the truck slowed down and continued to fire as he was in front of us. It was not fair. It was not fair. He intentionally killed my child for no reason. He didn’t even know her, he didn’t know who she was.”
Via Twitter, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez posted a statement on the senseless tragedy.
Sheriff Gonzalez elaborated on the shooting, stating: “It’s our belief that it was totally unprovoked, whatever it was, and we’re leaving no stone unturned. We’re going to leave every motive out there as a possibility. There was nothing to indicate that the family did anything wrong in any way. They were simply just driving along the service road when this happened to them.”
Harris County Sheriff’s Department described the killer as a white man in his 40s with a beard, wearing a red, hooded sweatshirt and driving a red pickup truck.
Although no motive has been given for the callous shooting, race has not been ruled out. And, with today’s racial climate, it certainly isn’t something that should be overlooked. Authorities assured the public that the investigation would be thorough.
Law enforcement authorities, her family and many people around the country are obviously devastated by Jazmine’s death.
Even activist Shaun King and civil rights attorney, Lee Merritt have become involved in the search for the little girl’s killer.
A $35,000 reward has been offered to anyone who turns in the perpetrator.