Police now have two suspects in custody in connection with the murder of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes who was gunned down in a Texas Walmart parking lot a week ago.
Eric Black Jr, 20, was arrested and charged with capital murder after the little girl was shot dead in Houston on December 30.
They said early Sunday that Black was arrested without incident after receiving a tip and later admitting to the shooting.
Another man, Larry Woodruffe, 24, was the second suspect to be taken into custody.
The Barnes family’s lawyer, Lee Merritt, released a copy of Woodruffe’s mugshot on Sunday and said he is ‘believed to be the shooter’.
Eric Black Jr, 20, (left) has been charged with capital murder after seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes who was gunned down in a Walmart parking lot in Houston, Texas on December 30. Another man, Larry Woodruffe, 24, (right) was the second suspect to be arrested in connection with the shooting
Jazmine was in the family’s car with her mother and three siblings when a red pickup truck pulled up next to them and someone started firing inside the vehicle
Jazmine was in the family’s car with her mother and three siblings when a red pickup truck pulled up next to them and someone started firing inside the vehicle.
Police initially described the suspect as a bearded white man in his 40s based on descriptions from various witnesses and victims.
They released a police sketch showing a white man and Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, said she believed the shooting was racially motivated.
Police had initially described the suspect as a bearded white male in his 40s based on witness descriptions. Following the arrest of two black men, it is now believed the man seen fleeing the scene may have been an innocent, frightened bystander
However, both men arrested in connection with the little girl’s murder are black.
The Barnes family’s lawyer said it is possible the white man previously described to police as a suspect was simply a bystander trying to escape the shooting.
Police have since revealed they believe the shooting was a case of ‘mistaken identity’.
Police have not confirmed Woodruffe’s arrest but said the investigation had taken a new direction.
‘The Jazmine Barnes Homicide investigation has taken a new direction. Detectives are in the process of interviewing persons of interest. More details will be released as soon as possible,’ they said in a tweet.
Black was stopped by police on January 5 for failing to signal before changing lanes and officers subsequently found marijuana in his car.
When he faced court for the signal and drug violations, it was revealed authorities had received an anonymous tip that said people with the initials ‘EB’ and ‘LW’ were responsible for the shooting, ABC News reports.
He allegedly told police he had been driving the rental vehicle that shot at the Barnes family’s car. Black also said he owned a pistol, which is said to have matched the casings found at the murder scene.
Police said early Sunday that Black was arrested without incident after receiving a tip and later admitting to the shooting
Jazmine was killed when a man in a red pickup truck pulled up next to the family car and opened fire for no apparent reason
At least one suspect is reportedly in custody in connection with the seven-year-old’s murder
Investigators do not think Jazmine or her family were the intended targets of the shooting.
‘Investigators are continuing to pursue evidence that could possibly lead to other suspects being charged in this case,’ a statement read.
‘Jazmine’s mother was driving Jazmine and her three sisters southbound on the East Sam Houston Parkway feeder road near Wallisville Road at approximately 6:50 a.m. when they were fired upon by someone in another vehicle.
‘At this time, investigators do not believe Jazmine’s family was the intended target of the shooting, and that they were possibly shot as a result of mistaken identity.’
‘I am grateful to our dedicated investigators, the partner law enforcement agencies that provided vital assistance, and tipsters from across the nation who pulled together to support our work to get justice for Jazmine,’ Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. ‘Our work is not finished, but I believe the people of Harris County can take comfort in knowing we have made great progress.’
It comes as hundreds of people gathered at a rally on Saturday holding signs reading ‘Justice for Jazmine.’
Organizers of the rally also led the crowd in chants that repeated the phrases, ‘What do we want? Justice. Who do we want it for? Jazmine.’
Jazmine’s family had said they believe her death was racially motivated.
In an emotional speech, Jazmine’s aunt, Sharonica Watt, asked her niece’s killer why he took the little girl’s life.
‘We’re asking you to turn yourself in right now, in the name of Jesus. We’re asking you to give justice to me and my family,’ Watt yelled in between tears.
The suspect who killed Jazmine has been described as a white man with blue eyes, a thin build and a mustache and is believed to be in his 30s or 40s
LaPorsha Washington, center, the mother of seven-year-old daughter Jazmine Barnes, speaks to the crowd during a community rally
The rally was held in the parking lot of a Walmart near where the shooting happened
People attend a community rally for seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes on Saturday in Houston
Jazmine died at the scene and her mother, LaPorsha Washington, suffered a gunshot wound to the arm.
Jazmine’s father, Christopher Cevilla, said his daughter was a loving and caring girl who was ‘very smart in school.’
The Sheldon Independent School District said in a statement that Jazmine was a second-grader at Monahan Elementary in Houston.
The district said additional counselors will be at the school when students return on Tuesday. The district asked parents to tell their children about Jazmine’s death.
Her funeral is being paid for by retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal and veteran Houston police officer Kenneth Miles.
Texans star DeAndre Hopkins donated his $29K check from Saturday’s game to support her family.
Texans star DeAndre Hopkins, pictured left, has said he will donate his $29K check from Saturday’s game to support her family and retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal, right, has said he will pay for the little girl’s funeral