After a week-long manhunt and social media campaign about the drive-by killing of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes, a man has admitted to taking part in the murder and has been booked without bail at Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Texas.
Eric Black Jr., 20, was reportedly arrested following a tip and has been charged with capital murder. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Barnes’ family, included a mugshot and name of a second suspect on his Instagram.
However, the second suspect was not named in Sheriff Ed Gonzalez’s press conference on Sunday. Gonzalez would not confirm any information about him, other than that there was a second suspect in the case. “We need to tighten up and verify information on this case,” he said.
Black “admitted to taking part in the shooting,” that led to the tragic death of Barnes, according to a press release from the Harris County Sherriff’s Office. Gonzalez would not clarify Black’s role in the killing.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office told the Daily Dot that one suspect was the shooter, while one was driving the car.
Barnes was murdered last week when she was out for an early morning coffee run with her mother, LaPorsha Washington, and three sisters.
“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,” the press release states.
Washington was injured as well but has been released from the hospital.
Police were initially on the hunt for a white man in his 40s, but Black is a Black man in his 20s.
Merritt acknowledged on Twitter that there was confusion regarding the suspects’ race, and offered a possible explanation.
It is difficult to understand how at least 4 independent witnesses mistook 2 black male suspects for 1 older white suspect. However it is imaginable that witnesses confused a fleeing bystander for the actual shooter.— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 6, 2019
Activist Shaun King, who has been rallying on Twitter to find the killer, explained early on Sunday the source of the rumor about the shooter being a white man.
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.— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 6, 2019
It appears that man was an innocent bystander who fled, actually fearing for his life as well. He was not the shooter.
Sheriff Gonzalez acknowledged the disparity and asked that the driver of the truck come forward, as he could be a witness. Gonzales also acknowledged an uptick in hate crimes recently and called for dialogue about gun violence going forward.
The arrest comes after a weeklong hunt for the shooter, with people on social media rallying to find the killer using the hashtag #JusticeForJazmine, and the announcement of a $100,000 reward for the killer’s arrest.
Merritt did not respond to an Instagram direct message asking for comment.