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Activist Shaun King Credited With Providing Tip That Led To Arrest In Jazmine Barnes Shooting Death

Activist Shaun King Credited With Providing Tip That Led To Arrest In Jazmine Barnes Shooting Death
CNN (courtesy of Jazmine Barnes' family)

On January 6, 2019, 20-year-old Eric Black Jr. was charged with the murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. For a period of several days following the December 30 murder, investigators were searching for a suspect matching a different description, but a tip from writer and activist Shaun King eventually led the police to the actual culprits.

King wrote about the situation surrounding the case in a lengthy Instagram post:

The heartbreaking nature of the heinous crime, as well as the possibility of racial motivations behind it, spurred the story of Jazmine's death into national awareness. On the day of her murder, Jazmine and her three sisters were in their pajamas, riding in their mother's car to pick up breakfast supplies, when another car pulled up alongside them and opened fire, killing 7-year-old Jazmine.

For several days following the gruesome event, police were searching for a "white man in his 40's" who reportedly drove a red pickup truck quickly away from the scene. Four witnesses claimed to have saw a man in a red pickup truck fire shots towards the Barnes's car. According to King, "A brave man even followed the red truck in his own car and got a good look at him."

Meanwhile, Eric Black Jr. and an accomplice were speeding off in a completely different direction. Black would be arrested two days later after for marijuana possession after being pulled over for failing to use a turn signal. Once in custody, he was asked questions regarding the homicide, and admitted that he drove the car used in the shooting, while a passenger opened fire into the Barnes's car.

Black and his associate claim they shot into the Barnes' car under the impression it belonged to someone from a rival gang, and never intended to hurt a little girl.

Black claimed the gun used in the shooting was at his home and game police permission to search it. Inside, they found a 9mm pistol, which is consistent with the shell casings found at the scene of the crime. Black's associate, the shooter identified in court as Larry Woodruffe, is currently also in custody facing drug-related charges. He has not yet been charged in connection with the shooting.

Jazmine's family has welcomed news of the arrest, though Black's description has surprised them. After the shooting, police released a sketch of their prime suspect, portraying him as a white man in his 40's based on the description of Jazmine's mother and sisters.

However, Attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents Jazmine's family, says they are grateful justice is being carried out:

"They wanted the right person to be convicted -- not a white person. This is the first opportunity they've been given to mourn. The family is entering a period of deep grieving."

Meanwhile, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is still calling on the man in the red pickup to report to a police station ASAP:

"We still want that individual to come forward, as it appears this was a case of mistaken identity."

Twitter is glad justice is being served:

A GoFundMe for the Barnes family has currently raised over $81k (overshooting the $6,500 goal) to help support them during their period of mourning and Texans wide-receiver DeAndre Hopkins has pledged an upcoming game check to the family.

Though absolutely nothing can come close to making up for Jazmine's death, support from people all across the nation will surely make a difference during their time of grief.