A second man has been charged with murder in the death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was fatally shot last month near Houston while riding in a car with her mother and sisters.
Larry D. Woodruffe, 24, was taken into custody over the weekend with another man, 20-year-old Eric Black Jr., the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said. Black was charged with capital murder, and Woodruffe was charged on Tuesday after additional investigation, authorities said.
Jazmine was sitting in the back of a car when she was killed in an unprovoked attack on the morning of Dec. 30 that drew national attention because of her young age and the many questions about why the family had been targeted. According to the sheriff’s department, the family was driving to the store around 6:50 a.m. when another car pulled alongside them and opened fire. Her mother was shot in the arm, and her sister was injured by shattering glass.
With no immediately apparent motive for the shooting, the Barnes family and others in the Houston area feared it could be a hate crime. Initial witness descriptions of the gunman described him as a white man in a red truck, and on Saturday, community members and Jazmine’s family gathered for a rally to draw attention to the search for her killer.
Investigators now believe the man in the red truck was simply fleeing from the gunfire. Woodruffe and Black were identified because of one of many tips to activist Shaun King, who had publicized the case on Twitter.
It took several days to corroborate the tip, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. Once he was interviewed by investigators, Black admitted he had been driving the car at the time of the shooting, the sheriff’s office said.
According to prosecutors, Black and Woodruffe believed they recognized the car that Jazmine and her family were in. The men mistook the family car for one belonging to someone they’d gotten into a fight with at a club the previous night, KHOU reported.
Black said he didn’t know they’d shot at the wrong car and killed a child until they saw the news the next day, KHOU reported.
The community gathered Tuesday for Jazmine's funeral, celebrating her short life with gospel music and her favorite color, purple.
“My baby, my angel, she’s all of our daughters,” her father, Christopher Cevilla, said.