Girl killed in drive-by will have funeral in Houston | News Coverage from USA

Girl killed in drive-by will have funeral in Houston

Funeral services were being held Tuesday in Houston for Jazmine Barnes, the bubbly 7-year-old killed in a drive-by-shooting initially investigated as a possible hate crime before authorities concluded the child’s death was a case of mistaken identity.

Thousands of students in the Sheldon school district were urged to wear purple to honor the Monahan Elementary second-grader who loved singing, dancing and fashion and dreamed of becoming a teacher.

The services were set for the sprawling Community of Faith Church in Houston, and Mayor Sylvester Turner and the local congresswoman and sheriff were among dignitaries. Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal gave Jazmine’s family a check to help pay for funeral expenses.

“Parents, if your child(ren) would like to attend the funeral, please check them out in the office, and they will receive an excused absence,” the school district said on its website. Grief counselors were available to students at Jazmine’s school.

Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, was driving near a Walmart with her three daughters Dec. 30 when another vehicle pulled up and someone began shooting. Jazmine was shot in the head, Washington was wounded in the arm and another daughter suffered injuries from broken glass.

Family members had identified the attacker as a white male driving a red pickup. Jazmine’s mother had suggested the attack may have been a hate crime.

The case drew a national spotlight, and a “Justice for Jazmine” rally drew hundreds of supporters Saturday. Later that day, however, authorities arrested one black man and said another was a suspect in the attack.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said video shows a red pickup was in the area near the shooting, but evidence indicates it was not involved in the attack. He stressed that the family wasn’t involved in anything “nefarious.”

More: Houston sheriff draws praise after arrest in Jazmine Barnes shooting

More: ‘Mistaken identity’ shooting: Murder charge filed in death of Jazmine

“You are talking about small children, they witnessed something very traumatic,” he said. “Very likely the last thing they saw was the red truck.”

The suspects mistook Washington’s car for a vehicle belonging to rivals they had fought in a bar a few hours earlier, prosecutor Samantha Knecht said at a court hearing Monday. 

Eric Black Jr., 20, the alleged driver, is charged with capital murder in the case. Gonzalez said the case against the second suspect, the suspected shooter, was still being developed.

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