Jan. 6 (UPI) — A 20-year-old man has been charged with capital murder in the drive-by shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes of Houston and it’s likely a case of mistaken identity, investigators said early Sunday.
KTRK-TV reported another man was the shooter and he was arrested.
Eric Black Jr. was taken into custody during a traffic stop without incident after an investigation revealed evidence that corroborated a tip, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release posted at 12:41 a.m CST. Deputies discovered marijuana in the gray Kia he was driving.
Black admitted to taking part in the shooting, the sheriff’s office said.
He appeared in court around 5 a.m.
On Dec. 30, Jazmine’s mother was driving Jazmine and her three sisters on a highway when at approximately 6:50 a.m. they were fired upon by someone in another vehicle.
The sheriff’s office said all evidence gathered so far supports investigators’ strong belief that she and her family were innocent victims.
“The source said the suspects thought the complainant’s vehicle was some other person’s vehicle that they had seen earlier in the night and that they shot the car by mistake,” according to the complaint obtained by KPRC-TV. “The source said that they did not realize the vehicle that they had shot into was the complainant’s vehicle until seeing it on the news later in the day.”
Black was the driver of the car and another man, identified by a source as L.W., was in the passenger seat during the shooting.
Black was driving a rental vehicle of unknown description and not a red pickup truck as originally thought by investigators, according to the complaint. And he was driving another vehicle, the Kia, at the time of his arrest.
Barnes was shot in the head, and her mother, LaPorsha Washington, was shot in the arm.
“She said, ‘Momma, Jazmine’s not moving. She’s not talking.’ I turned around and my 7-year-old was shot in the head,” Washington said.
Investigators released a sketch of the suspect.
“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.”