Child killer who shot repeatedly at car full of kids in Texas on the loose, activists offer reward
Jazmine Barnes and her mother, 30-year-old LaPorsha Washington, from Houston, Texas, were on their way to a convenience store early Sunday morning, along with Washington’s three other daughters. As their car idled at a red light, gunshots rang out, punching through the packed vehicle.
Washington screamed at her children to “get down!” as bullets ripped through the car, CNN reported. The panicked mother threw herself on her eldest daughter sitting in the passenger seat, but was unable to shield her three daughters in the back seat.
When the shooting stopped, a voice cried out from the back seat: “Mama, Jazmine’s not moving...she’s not talking.” When Washington turned around, seven-year-old Jazmine was dead, shot in the head. Washington herself was wounded. A red pickup truck sped off, and the shooter got away.
We're mourning the loss of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was shot to death just before 7 a.m. Sunday while riding in a car with her mother and three sisters. We won’t stop until we find Jazmine’s killer. #HouNewspic.twitter.com/PJJLXaJmbC— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) December 31, 2018
The killing has police scratching their heads. The suspect, described as a bearded white male in his 40s, was unknown to the young family, and appeared to have chosen his targets at random.
“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,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters on Monday.
The local community is shocked by the slaying, and Washington is grief-stricken. “Every time I wake up, I want it to be a dream,” she told CNN. “I want to wake up and see my 7-year-old run through the door and give me a hug and a kiss.” Washington’s three other daughters were not shot, but are left traumatized after the tragedy.
Police have released photos of the suspect’s truck, in an attempt to track down the killer.
Help us identify the person who killed 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes on Sunday. If you live near Wallisville Rd/ E. Sam Houston Pkwy look over your surveillance video. We’re looking for a 4-door red truck. If you have info call 713-221-6000 or @CrimeStopHOU at 713-222-TIPS. #HouNewspic.twitter.com/nyMudgs60x— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) December 31, 2018
In addition, New York-based activist Shaun King – active in the Black Lives Matter movement – and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt have offered a $35,000 cash reward to help find the suspect.
“I have $35,000 in cash for the person who turns in the murderer of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes,” King announced on Tuesday. In an earlier tweet, King described the suspect as an “evil coward,” while Merritt said “there exists no rationale for the attack other than hate.”
Listen. I have $35,000 in cash for the person who turns in the murderer of 7 year old Jazmine Barnes.— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 1, 2019
You can contact me confidentially. And I can give you the money without anyone knowing it was you.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. pic.twitter.com/PDUsgUyHLU
I swear to my God that I will not stop until I find this man.— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 1, 2019
I need his family, neighbors, and everyone connected to him to know that I will search every inch of their lives too until I find him and he is held accountable.
This will not be safe for them. Should turn him in. https://t.co/nWK4AgHjCB
Sheriff Gonzalez has vowed to find the gunman, and said he hopes “his conscience is eating away at him.” With no more leads thus far, closure is still a long way off for Washington and her daughters.
“He intentionally killed my child for no reason,” she told CNN. “He didn't even know her. He didn't even know who she was...It was not fair.”
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