Sher­iff un­sure if race was a fac­tor in the shoot­ing of Texas girl

Saturday Star - - WORLD -

PO­LICE in Texas con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate what prompted a week­end shoot­ing that killed a 7-year-old black girl af­ter ac­tivists claimed the in­ci­dent was racially mo­ti­vated.

Har­ris County Sher­iff Ed Gon­za­lez said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the death of Jazmine Barnes was fo­cused on col­lect­ing ev­i­dence and on de­vel­op­ing leads.

“We’re not tone-deaf to some of the con­cerns in our com­mu­nity where this could be potentially race-re­lated,” Gon­za­lez said, adding that road rage could be an­other con­sid­er­a­tion.

He said he didn’t want to spec­u­late on a pos­si­ble mo­tive to limit the scope of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that has one pri­mary aim – find­ing the shooter.

The sher­iff said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were “not rul­ing any­thing out”.

Au­thor­i­ties are search­ing for a white, bearded man who was driv­ing a red four-door pick-up, cap­tured on sur­veil­lance video shortly be­fore the shoot­ing on the east­ern out­skirts of Hous­ton.

Jazmine died at the scene and her mother, La­por­sha Wash­ing­ton, suf­fered a gun­shot wound to the arm.

The driver of the pick-up pulled along­side Wash­ing­ton’s car and fired in­side, au­thor­i­ties said.

Hous­ton ac­tivists held a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day at which they said that they be­lieved the at­tack was racially mo­ti­vated.

“Black peo­ple are be­ing tar­geted in this coun­try, black peo­ple are be­ing tar­geted in this county, black peo­ple are be­ing tar­geted in this city,” ac­tivist Deric Muham­mad said.

“So we are thor­oughly con­vinced that the killing of Jazmine Barnes was race-re­lated.”

Gon­za­lez de­scribed last Sun­day’s shoot­ing as “to­tally un­pro­voked” and asked peo­ple who lived in the neigh­bour­hood where the in­ci­dent took place to re­view their sur­veil­lance videos.

A dis­traught Wash­ing­ton ear­lier told the KTRK-TV sta­tion from her hos­pi­tal bed that the gun­man sped up af­ter fir­ing into her car, only to pull in front and slow down be­fore fir­ing again.

“He in­ten­tion­ally killed my child for no rea­son,” Gon­za­lez said. “He didn’t even know her, he didn’t know who she was.”

She said the shoot­ing oc­curred on a ser­vice road as the fam­ily were head­ing to a store.

Jazmine’s fa­ther, Christo­pher Cevilla, said his daugh­ter was a lov­ing and car­ing girl who was “very smart in school”. |

HAR­RIS County Sher­iff Ed Gon­za­lez makes a plea for the gun­man re­spon­si­ble for killing 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes to turn him­self in dur­ing a press con­fer­ence ear­lier this week. | AP African News Agency (ANA)

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