Houston shooting creates sorrow around U.S.

Maxwell W. '20, Writer

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On Dec. 30, seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes died in a drive- by shooting between her mother’s car and a red pickup truck on the east Beltway and Wallisville Road in Houston. Barnes’ mother, LaPorsha Washington, was shot in the arm, and her 6-year-old  sister was injured by broken glass from the gunshots. Her other two sisters were not harmed in the shooting.

After the shooting, which occurred at around seven in the morning, local police and federal authorities began searching for the killer of Barnes. Investigators believed the suspect was a white male in his early 40’s with a beard wearing a red hooded sweatshirt. CNN stated the killer’s intent was possibly tied to racism. African Americans and Barnes’ family members were infuriated by this and desperately asked for help.

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,” Washington said to ABC News.

One group who helped Washington was GoFundMe. This organization is non- profit oriented and allows people to raise money for events or projects such as graduations, celebrations, illnesses or accidents. Two thousand- five hundred people raised money with this program for Barnes’ funeral expenses and other tasks. One publicized contribution came from Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who donated his playoff check to the family.

“I feel this event is very tragic and horrible for the city of Houston. I hope the Barnes family recovers from this event,” Hannah M.’20 said.

Another major contribution is from journalist Shaun King and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt who promised a $35,000 reward for anybody who finds the killer. Thousands of people across the U.S. contributed to the cause, including those who participated in a justice rally for Barnes and her family. Among the people at the rally were Gabrielle Union, Olivia Wilde and Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

“The Jasmine Barnes story is a tragedy, but unfortunately not that uncommon today. At the heart of the story is troubled youths who fell victim to the gang mentality and made a mistake in targeting a rival,” A.P. Government and Civil and Criminal Law teacher Gaven Jones said.

Because of the justice rally and other events in Houston, the reward grew to $100,000. On Jan. 5, police identified and arrested two black men as the suspects. Eric Black Jr., 20, was charged with capital murder and Larry Woodruffe, 24, received a drug charge, but was later identified as the shooter by investigators. Authorities are still looking to see if there were any other particpants in the shooting.

“I feel this event is heartbreaking and hard to swallow for her family. Her story needs to be a platform for people to hear around the United States,” Shane S.’20 said.

The death of Barnes has broken the hearts of Houston residents and people across the country. Her funeral service was held on Jan. 8 where the public and Barnes’ family paid their 

respects. Several  black celebrities came to the service to show respect for Barnes and her struggling family.

“I say this is a very special homegoing, because I got a beautiful angel up there watching over me,”  Washington said about her daughter.