Harris County homicide investigators have filed capital murder charges against two Houston men suspected in the drive-by murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. Jazmine was killed early Sunday, Dec. 30, as she rode in a car with her mother and three siblings near a Walmart in east Harris County.
Police were called to the scene around 7am Sunday. Jazmine's mother, LaPorsha Washington, 30, told officers she took her 4 daughters to pick up coffee for her grandmother at 6:30am. She said a white middle aged male in the red pickup truck fired into her car.
Jazmine was pronounced dead at the scene.
Late Saturday, the Harris County Sheriff's Office arrested trigger man Larry Woodruffe, 24, (pictured top left) and Eric Black, Jr., 20. The arrests came hours after hundreds of mourners attended a vigil and rally for Jazmine in Houston.
Black confessed to "taking part" in the shooting. The evidence so far shows the shooting may be a case of mistaken identity. The two suspects reportedly shot into the family's car believing they were shooting at rival gang members.
Investigators say more "persons of interest" are being questioned and more arrests are expected.
The suspects were identified through a tip from the public. But the tip was not followed up on initially due to the family's description of the suspect as a white male.
Washington initially told police the lone suspect was a white man in his 40s with a beard and pot belly. She said he wore a red hoodie and drove an extended cab four door pickup truck.
Police launched an intensive manhunt for the suspect based on the description provided by Washington and her two teenage daughters, Alxis Dilbert, 16, and Ebonee Dilbert, 13.
Social media erupted in outrage over reports that the suspect was a white supremacist Trump supporter.
Transracial activist Shaun King fanned the flames of racial tensions on Twitter.com by claiming Jazmine's case was similar to an earlier shooting involving a Black family by a white male driving a pickup truck.
"This isn't the first time that a black family was ambushed by an unknown white male," he tweeted on Jan. 1. "The exact same thing happened on August 30, 2017 to A'Vonta Williams and his girlfriend's grandmother."
But questions emerged when police received tips that conflicted with the description given.
Famed police artist Lois Gibson sat down with Washington's daughter Alxis to create a composite sketch of the suspect. Alxis claimed she got a "good look" at the killer.
She described the killer as a "sick and skinny" white man with pale skin, possibly in his 30s or 40s, with blue eyes and no beard. The color of his hoodie changed from red to black, and there was no mention of a pot belly.
"I'll never forget his blue eyes," she said.
Police distributed the highly detailed composite sketch along with an enhanced image of the red pickup truck to the news media on Thursday.
Doubts about the validity of the family's stories began to creep in late Thursday.
Social media users questioned how a witness could see the suspect's eye color in the dark. The shooting occurred before sunrise when it would still be dark outside.
Early Sunday, the killers were identified as two Black males in their 20s. The police sketch did not even come close to resembling the actual killers.
Clues that Washington may not have been truthful emerged early in the case. Washington's earlier statement indicates she may have known there were two or more suspects.
"They sped off in front of us and the truck slowed down and continued to fire as he was in front of us."
A slip of the tongue is what's known as a Freudian Slip: when the unconscious truth interferes with conscious thoughts.
Washington and her daughter didn't mention another vehicle in the area. Washington and the two teenagers insisted they observed a red pickup truck tailing them and then pulling alongside their car when the driver opened fire.
Washington and her teenage daughters described a white male driving the pickup truck.
After the shooting, Washington may have delayed calling 911 so she could coach her other daughters on what to say to police.
On Sunday, some of the familys supporters expressed their skepticism.
Twitter user @MiaJynette wrote:
"So.. jazmine's family described the shooter as a white male, but it ended up being a black one?... I hope the second guy looks closer to the family's description. If he doesn't something fishy might be going on #jazminebarnes."
"Odd #JazmineBarnes killer looks NOTHING like the police sketch that was released...."
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who represents the family, offered a ready excuse for the discrepancies, which he described as "confusion."
"Obviously, the men arrested don’t fit the description of multiple witnesses or the sketch. Initially, this fact made it difficult to accept the tip that resulted in these arrests. However, if the confession obtained is reliable, There is likely an explanation for the confusion."
King also had a ready explanation for the false flag narrative. He claimed he gave the names of the two killers to the sheriff's office on Thursday.
"Two men that I reported to @SheriffEd_HCSO on this past Thursday have been arrested and charged with the capital murder of Jazmine Barnes.
Names: Larry Woodruffe and Eric Black It took us from Thursday to Sunday to truly understand this case.
After Woodruff & Black shot & killed Jazmine Barnes, 4 credible independent eyewitnesses heard the shooting and saw a white man in a red truck speed off. It appears that man was an innocent bystander who fled, actually fearing for his life as well. He was not the shooter."
King claimed the shooting was gang-related and that Jazmine's family were innocent victims.
He failed to explain why he and Merritt continued to push their race-baiting narrative of a lone white male gunman even after he allegedly gave the names of the real killers to police on Thursday.
"If you reported them to the police on Thursday, then why were you doxxing that white guy ... on Friday?"
"Ummmm so not white or 30-40 or blue eyes or red truck. Huh it's almost like you were full of shit race baiting ahole. Almost. It's not like you identified a white dude in a red truck with a hoodie fitting the description and posted it all over Twitter. Na you wouldn't do that."
Another user tweeted:
"Maybe you should wait for facts. You were so desperate to pin this on a white man. Your racism is on full display".
No mention of race, this time, why?
No opportunity to incite and inflame? No opportunity to cause more division?
Is there something that you aren't saying? Something you're not sharing? Something you don't want to say? ?
— StatusQuo?¿OhNo! (@Eclectic_Righty) January 6, 2019
Ummmm so not white or 30-40 or blue eyes or red truck. Huh it's almost like you were full of shit race baiting ahole. Almost. It's not like you identified a white dude in a red truck with a hoodie fitting the description and posted it all over Twitter. Na you wouldn't do that.
— Ihavevidence (@ihavevidence) January 6, 2019
Both suspects are African American. Why did you proclaim it was a 40 y/o white man?
— D. (@ThtsWhtSheTweet) January 6, 2019
Understand it = if the suspected assailant wasn’t white you would have ignored it. Like you do all B on B murders.
— JK16 ? ? ? (@JfKaboom) January 6, 2019
Keep that SAME energy now that they are black and not a "Trump supporter" or other racial bullshit
— Media Liarz (@MediaLiarz) January 6, 2019
Only did it because you were hoping to make it another racist issue against whites! The future will not be kind to your type
— aaahhhlll (@ogaaahhhlll) January 6, 2019
You didn’t comment about their race then? Do you know that people were driving around Houston looking for white males in red trucks? This race game could’ve gotten someone else killed.
— Thoward (@thoward_1) January 6, 2019
The guy who killed Jazmine Barnes is black. He already confessed!
Who identified the suspect as a 40 yo white man for the picture circulated earlier? That's the question!
We have enough REAL hate crimes! We don't want to identify a suspect as white when it isn't true! https://t.co/xzaN0utwTy
— Wiltshire (@SocialIssueNews) January 6, 2019
I wonder if all the grandstanding "activists" who were screaming about #JazmineBarnes will stick around now that it's been revealed that the shooter was black instead of white. https://t.co/8s6QhEQuPC
— John du Raspail (@JohnDuRaspail) January 6, 2019