Prosecutors said Sunday that the shooting death of a 7-year-old black girl as she rode in her family’s vehicle stemmed from a case of mistaken identity.
Prosecutors charged 20-year-old Eric Black Jr. in the Dec. 30 death of Jazmine Barnes. Family and community activists had previously said they believed the death was racially motivated, and investigators had been searching for a white man with blue eyes who was driving a red pickup.
During a court hearing early Sunday, prosecutors said Black admitted to investigators that he was driving a vehicle in which a passenger opened fire on the car Jazmine was in. The vehicle he said he was driving was a dark-colored Kia SUV.
Prosecutors did not immediately explain the discrepancies between the earlier description of the suspect and the vehicle.
They said a confidential source told the Harris County Sheriff’s Office the suspects had “shot the car by mistake.”
Black has been charged with capital murder. It was not immediately known whether the suspected shooter has been arrested.
Hundreds of people gathered at a rally Saturday afternoon for the girl near where the shooting happened. People held up balloons and stuffed animals, as well as signs that said “Justice for Jazmine.”
A $100,000 reward was being offered for information leading to an arrest in Jazmine’s case.
Activist Shaun King has been in touch with the family since Black was arrested and offered insight into the mistaken identity on Twitter.
“I am told that Larry Woodruffe and Eric Black Jr. shot & killed Jazmine Barnes in drive by shooting, believing they were shooting someone else from a rival gang that had nothing to do with Jazmine Barnes.
We have also learned where the white suspect in the red truck came from.
After Woodruff & Black shot & killed Jazmine Barnes, 4 credible independent eyewitnesses heard the shooting and saw a white man in a red truck speed off.
It appears that man was an innocent bystander who fled, actually fearing for his life as well. He was not the shooter.”