HOUSTON (Gray News) - Investigators are continuing to search for other suspects in the death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, even as they have taken a 20-year-old man into custody.
Authorities with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office announced early Sunday morning that they filed a capital murder charge against 20-year-old Eric Black Jr. in Jazmine’s death. They report Black admitted to taking part in the shooting after he was taken into custody.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez say investigators have information a second individual was involved in the crime.
Because the suspected shooter was initially thought to be a white man in his 40s, activists and Jazmine’s family believed the crime could be race related.
Investigators agreed that was one possibility, among many, and in recent days, they had been focusing on a man, reported to be white, whom witnesses said had driven a red pickup truck away from the scene.
However, Gonzalez announced in a press conference Sunday the driver of the red truck was likely a witness and not involved in the shooting.
Investigators now believe the shooting was not racially motivated but was instead likely a case of mistaken identity. They do not believe Jazmine’s family was the intended target.
Authorities are still asking the driver of the truck to come forward to shed light on the events.
Several hours prior to the arrest announcement, authorities said on Twitter that the investigation had “taken a new direction.” Interviews with persons of interest were in process.
A manhunt began after the Dec. 30 murder of 7-year-old Jazmine, who was fatally shot when a suspect opened fire on her family’s car. Her mother, 30-year-old LaPorsha Washington, and her three sisters were also inside the car at the time.
Activists, celebrities and local community leaders called for justice in the killing, and a $100,000 reward was put on offer for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.
Jazmine’s mother, who was wounded in the attack, begged the public for help from her hospital bed.
"It was not fair. It was not fair. He intentionally killed my child for no reason,” she said. “He didn’t even know her. He didn’t know who she was.”
Black was identified as a suspect on the basis of a tip, according to the sheriff’s office.
Investigators are looking into evidence that could potentially lead to other suspects being charged in the case.