It’s been almost a week since 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes was killed after an unidentified gunman shot into her mother’s car and the Houston, Texas Sheriff’s Office has released a composite sketch of the man wanted in connection to the child’s death.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez further described the suspect in a press conference on Thursday, as a thin white man in his 30s or 40s, with pale skin and blue eyes who was wearing a black hoodie at the tie of the shooting. Originally cops said he had a beard, but Gonzalez clarified that it “looks more like a 5-o’clock shadow,” NPR reports.
The man pulled up next to Jazmine’s mother’s car, where the second-grader was seated along with her three sisters and fired off several shots.
Jazmine was killed on the scene.
“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,” Jazmine’s mom, LaPorsha Washington said earlier this week.
Once the shooting was over, it was one of Washington’s other daughters that discovered that her sister was no longer responding.
“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 recalled.
“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,” the grieving mother added.
Currently, a reward for information leading to the shooter’s capture has now risen to $100,000 thanks to the efforts of activist and journalist Shaun King and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt.
The shooter’s motive is still unknown, with police saying it is unclear if the incident was racially motivated.
“Motive, to us at this point, almost becomes a secondary thing,” Gonzalez acknowledged. “It’s a whodunit right now. So once I determine who did it, and where this vehicle is, then we’ll understand motive a little bit better.”
In the meantime, celebrities known and loved in Texas have rallied behind Jazmine’s family, with Houston Texas wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal pledging to cover the cost of the child’s funeral.
Hopkins announced on Thursday morning that he would donate his playoff check to help Jazmine’s family with the funeral and to also help with bringing the suspect in to face justice.
“When I see Jazmine Barnes’ face, I see my own daughter,” the footballer tweeted. “On Saturday, I will be playing in your honor, Jazmine.”
When I see Jazmine Barnes' face, I see my own daughter. I'm pledging my playoff check this week to help her family with funeral costs and to support @shaunking @SherriffED_HCSO @SylvesterTurner in bringing this man to justice. On Saturday, I will be playing in your honor, Jazmine pic.twitter.com/oCRYSgfGO9
Meanwhile, Shaquille O’Neal partnered with Houston Senior Police Officer Kenneth Miles, and dropped off a cashier’s check to cover Jazmine’s funeral, which will be held on Tuesday at Green House International Church.
“You can just imagine if one of your children or loved ones were the victims and maybe you having helped could maybe just ease the pain of not worrying about covering that cost,” Miles told Click2Houston.
Meanwhile, O’Neal said that the news about the young child’s death devastated him, pushing him to act.
“I just wanted to keep the pain away, trying to raise money and pay for the funeral because funerals can be quite expensive,” O’Neal, who is friends with Miles, added.
Celebrities aren’t the only ones rallying behind the family, and a GoFundMe campaign started by the family to help with expenses has raised, so far, a total of $57,956 in four days, when just a two days ago with almost $12,000 raised, it had already smashed its original goal of $6,500. The nation is standing behind Jazmine’s family as well, hoping for and demanding justice as the search for the killer continues.
“Prayers for Jazmine’s family. This should not happen to any child! I pray the community does the right thing and give up the killer. Someone knows who he is!,” one person named Maurice Williams commented on the GoFundMe page.
“I am so sorry this monster took away your little girl,” another comment read.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.