- A second man has been charged with capital murder in connection to the shooting death of Houston, Texas girl Jazmine Barnes, age 7.
- Prosecutors believe Larry D. Woodruffe, 24, was the man who fired the fatal shots into the car Jazmine was driving in with her family on December 30, in a case of mistaken identity.
- Police have also charged another man, Eric Black Jr., with capital murder, and said he admitted to taking part in the shooting.
A man police believe is the gunman who shot and killed 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes in Houston, Texas last week has been charged with capital murder.
Larry D. Woodruffe, 24, was hit with the charge, which could carry the penalty of death, on Tuesday, the same day Barnes’ funeral was held.
Over the weekend, police made their first arrest in the case, which Harris Country Sheriff Ed Gonazlez said was based on a tip they received from journalist Shaun King, according to CNN.
That tip led them to take 20-year-old Eric Black Jr. into custody. Under police grilling, Black confessed to being involved in Jazmine’s murder, but said it was a case of mistaken identity, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Black said he was driving a rental vehicle when his friend, Woodruffe, fired the fatal shots into Jazmine’s mother’s vehicle after confusing the family for a group of people they got into an altercation with at a club hours earlier, the Chronicle reported. Black reportedly said they didn’t realise their mistake until watching the news hours after Barnes’ death.
Woodruffe was taken into custody later that day, but reportedly denied the allegations. However, mobile phone tracking data put him “in close proximity” to the scene of the crime, giving prosecutors enough to charge him with murder, according to ABC 13. The report also says that the two men took a picture together shortly after the shooting, where Woodruffe reportedly showed off a fan of cash and Black flashed gang signs.
Investigators initially thought they were looking for a white male suspect, based on a description provided by one of Jazmine’s sisters, who believed the gunman was Caucasian and driving a red pickup truck. Sheriff Gonzalez said he believes a red pickup truck was at the scene, but that the driver was an innocent bystander.
“We do not believe in any way that the family, as we’ve said from the beginning, that they have been involved in anything nefarious,” Gonzalez said, according to the Chronicle. “It just went down very quickly. The gunfire erupted. We’re talking about small children. They witnessed something very traumatic. It’s likely the last thing they did see was indeed that truck and the driver in that truck.”
King, the journalist who helped the identify the two suspects, has also come under fire for originally misidentifying a white man as the potential shooter, tweeting out the man’s name and picture to his 1 million followers on Friday.
“We’ve had 20 people call or email us and say he is a racist, violent [expletive] and always has been. Just tell me everything you know,” King wrote in the since-deleted post.
Cantrell’s niece, Hailey Cantrell, told WLS the family has been receiving threats since her uncle was misidentified and she wants everyone to “back off.”
King was also part of an effort to raise money to find Jazmine’s killer. That $US100,000 will now go to establishing a foundation in Jazmine’s memory, family attorney Lee Merritt said, according to the Chronicle.
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