Sheriff: Top priority is to bring justice

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said authorities are working through a steady stream of tips as they seek to track down the person who shot and killed 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes.

Posted: Jan 3, 2019 4:41 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2019 4:41 PM

Grappling with the trauma of seeing their sister get killed, the siblings of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes may be key to finding the elusive killer.

Texas police are hoping the girls' descriptions of the suspect will produce a sketch of the man who opened fire on the family's car, killing Jazmine for no apparent reason.

A sketch could be released Thursday, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

In the meantime, the public has just vague descriptions of what to look for: a white, bearded man in his 40s who was driving a red, extended-cab pickup truck.

"We want to make sure that we get the right person as quickly as possible," Gonzalez said.

No one except the gunman knows why he shot into the car driven by Jazmine's mother around 7 a.m. Sunday in eastern Harris County.

But out of this tragedy came solidarity in grief.

A $100,000 reward is now available for information leading to the arrest of the killer, social-justice activist Shaun King announced.

And more than 1,500 donors have contributed to a GoFundMe account for Jazmine's funeral expenses and family, as the girl's mother recovers from a gunshot wound and some of her three sisters recover from injuries caused by shattered glass in the attack.

A community rally and funeral

Jazmine will be memorialized Tuesday during the "Justice for Jazmine Barnes Community Rally."

The event will honor "all murdered victims in Houston/Harris County," organizers said.

Services for Jazmine will begin at 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) Tuesday with a viewing at Green House International Church, followed by her funeral at noon. Afterward, mourners will release purple balloons in her memory.

A morning coffee run ends in tragedy

Jazmine was still in her pajamas Sunday morning when she and her mom, LaPorsha Washington, went on a pre-dawn coffee run to a convenience store.

It was about 7 a.m. The family woke up early because Washington's mother was visiting. They were already looking forward to preparing Sunday dinner.

But as the family drove near a Walmart, a man in a red or maroon pickup truck pulled up next to their car and started firing, the sheriff's office said.

The gunfire shattered the mother's driver's side window, Washington told CNN affiliate KTRK. She said the truck's driver then sped up to get in front of the family and continued shooting.

"I didn't provoke him in any kind of way," the mother said.

Washington said she suspects the attack may have been racially motivated. She said she didn't have tinted windows, and the gunman could see "a black mother with four beautiful children, girls, in this car."

The sheriff said the family didn't appear to do anything to incite the truck's driver.

"There was nothing to indicate that the family did anything wrong in any way," Gonzalez said. "They were simply just driving along the service road when this happened to them."

The sheriff's department is asking anyone who has surveillance video near Wallisville Road and E. Sam Houston Parkway to check their footage for possible clues.

The community is horrified

Even for officers accustomed to horrific crimes, the tragedy of Jazmine's death is impacting them personally.

"Help us find this monster before he murders another innocent child," tweeted Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union. "Prayers for Jazmines family, no parent should have to bury a child."

Attorney S. Lee Merritt, who is advising Jazmine's family, said the grief is compounded by the unknown.

"The inability to capture or even identify this killer is really weighing heavily on that family," he said.

Jazmine's father, Christopher Cevilla, thanked the countless supporters who are trying to help. He also had a message for anyone who might know about the attack:

"I just want anybody, whoever, out there that knows anything about the murder of my daughter, to just please step up as if it was your own," Cevilla told reporters. "Just put yourself in my shoes, in my family's shoes."

West Lafayette
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 52°
Kokomo
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 44°
Rensselaer
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 41°
Fowler
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 41°
Williamsport
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 46°
Crawfordsville
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Frankfort
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 43°
Delphi
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Monticello
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Logansport
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 46°
Bright and Breezy with Unseasonably Cooler Conditions.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 108646

Reported Deaths: 3478
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20341757
Lake10013312
Elkhart6198106
St. Joseph586796
Allen5785198
Hamilton4600109
Vanderburgh318126
Hendricks2607120
Monroe224336
Johnson2241122
Tippecanoe211313
Clark205056
Porter197843
Cass19209
Delaware180159
Vigo169621
Madison153075
LaPorte134837
Floyd127961
Howard125163
Kosciusko116717
Bartholomew113257
Warrick104134
Marshall97423
Boone93846
Dubois92118
Hancock89242
Noble86432
Grant85132
Henry73424
Jackson7259
Wayne72214
Morgan68038
Shelby65529
LaGrange62811
Daviess61627
Dearborn61428
Clinton59111
Harrison54824
Putnam5098
Lawrence49928
Montgomery49421
White47114
Knox4659
Decatur44739
Gibson4344
DeKalb42511
Miami4202
Greene40935
Fayette40413
Jasper3732
Scott34410
Steuben3447
Sullivan32612
Jennings30512
Franklin29225
Posey2900
Clay2855
Orange27924
Ripley2768
Carroll26713
Wabash2547
Washington2491
Whitley2456
Wells2422
Starke2387
Jefferson2363
Adams2303
Fulton2292
Tipton21522
Huntington2073
Randolph2047
Perry20014
Spencer1984
Jay1640
Newton16411
Owen1621
Martin1560
Rush1484
Pike1331
Vermillion1210
Fountain1152
Pulaski1121
Blackford1072
Crawford980
Brown933
Parke902
Benton880
Union760
Ohio757
Switzerland660
Warren381
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events