7-year-old Jasmine Barnes was sitting in a car with her three sisters and her mother, stopped at a red light while taking a trip to the supermarket in Houston when a red pickup truck pulled up alongside them.
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
The shots rang out and when it was over young Jasmine was dead and her mother and a sister were wounded in what police are calling a “random and senseless” shooting.
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Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, described her recollection of the traumatic assault in an interview with local ABC affiliate KTRK.
“As I turned around and looked back at the street, I heard shots start firing and they came through my window, broke my glass, and hit me in my arm,” Washington recalled to ABC 13. “They sped off in front of us and the truck slowed down and continued to fire as he was in front of us. It was not fair. It was not fair. He intentionally killed my child for no reason. He didn’t even know her, he didn’t know who she was.”
When the shots initially started flying, Washington tried to shield her older daughter who was sitting in the passenger seat next to her, taking a bullet in the arm as she threw her body over her daughter’s. When the gunfire finally stopped, one of the daughters sitting in the backseat said: “‘Momma, Jazmine’s not moving. She’s not talking,'” Washington told reporters. When she turned around, she saw Jazmine had been shot in the head.
The distraught mother has racked her brain trying to remember anything that she may have done to cause the bearded white man to make such a heinous action.
“Did I cut this man off? Did I make a wrong turn in front of him?” Washington told CBS News from her hospital room. “I didn’t — he fired at us for no reason.”
The undeserved murder of the young black girl generated outrage everywhere and journalist Sean King started a Twitter campaign offering what was initially a $25,000 reward — since upped to $50,000 — for information leading to the arrest of her killer.
URGENT. ALL HANDS ON DECK.
A 40 y/o white man w/ a beard in a red pickup truck pulled up on 7 y/o Jazmine Barnes and her family near a Houston @Walmart and shot and killed her and injured others.
I am joining the search for her killer and have a $25,000 reward.
Need him NOW. pic.twitter.com/ugfA2nJ1k8
— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 1, 2019
King’s tweet managed to get the attention of several witnesses to the shooting, but they have yet to provide enough information to help apprehend the murderous killer.
UPDATE: I have now located several credible eyewitnesses with essential new information and have screened them and passed them on to @SheriffEd_HCSO.
It’s not enough, but gives us many more details.
Our reward is now $50,000. #JusticeForJazmine
Email me at email@example.com pic.twitter.com/aH9pLinB4E
— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 2, 2019
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who received the tips from King, told The New York Daily News that he hopes that the killer’s “conscience is eating away at him” “with each passing moment.” Stating that he has not ruled out the possibility that the killing was a racially motivated hate crime, the sheriff directly addressed the still at large gunman, saying:
“Do the right thing and turn yourself in. There’s no need for anyone else to be harmed.”
Jasmine’s father, Christopher Cevilla, described his daughter to the Daily News with a heartbreaking tribute,
“My daughter was 7 years old, loving, caring, very passionate with people, very sweet, just an innocent young girl,” Cevilla said. “Very smart in school. There’s just a lot of things that’s being robbed of me and my family at this moment that we will never be able to get back.”
The grieving father pleaded for assistance in finding the culprit in his daughter’s killing and making sure that they are held accountable.
“I’m asking, from the bottom of my heart,” he said at a news conference on Monday. “Whoever knows anything, please step up at this point in time and help me and my family get justice for my baby girl.”
If this is indeed the hate crime that it appears to be, you can add one more to the ever increasing list of such horrendous offenses that the Trump administration has inspired through its divisive policies and abhorrent promotion of racist beliefs.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.