HOUSTON — Prosecutors said Sunday that the shooting death of a 7-year-old black girl as she rode in her family’s vehicle stemmed from a case of mistaken identity.
Prosecutors charged 20-year-old Eric Black Jr. in the Dec. 30 death of Jazmine Barnes. Family and community activists had previously said they believed the death was racially motivated, and investigators had been searching for a white man with blue eyes who was driving a red pickup. Black is African-American.
During a court hearing early Sunday, prosecutors said Black admitted to investigators that he was driving a vehicle in which a passenger opened fire on the car Jazmine was in. The vehicle he said he was driving was a dark-colored Kia SUV.
Prosecutors did not immediately explain the discrepancies between the earlier description of the suspect and the vehicle.
They said a confidential source told the Harris County Sheriff’s Office the suspects had “shot the car by mistake.”
Black has been charged with capital murder. It was not immediately known whether the suspected shooter has been arrested.
Hundreds of people gathered at a rally Saturday afternoon for the girl near where the shooting happened. People held up balloons and stuffed animals, as well as signs that said “Justice for Jazmine.”
A $100,000 reward was being offered for information leading to an arrest in Jazmine’s case.