Suspect in senseless murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes reportedly admits he shot her by mistake 

Two men suspected to have been responsible for the senseless murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes are now in custody and have been charged with murder. Investigation reveals the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.

News outlets have confirmed that 20-year-old Eric Black, Jr. and 24-year-old Larry Woodruffe have been charged for the murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes during a drive-by shooting on December 30.  


Barnes was with her mother, La Porsha Washington and her three sisters inside their family vehicle near a Walmart store in Houston when the suspects opened fire on them. Barnes was shot in the head and killed instantly. Her mother was shot in the arm but was able to recount what happened while being treated at the hospital.

Contrary to a sketch of the suspect that was released and portrayed as a white man, Black and Woodruffe are are African American. Black was arrested by the Harris County police after receiving a tip. He later admitted his involvement in the shooting though he is not believed to be the shooter. 

Woodruffe, who is also currently under the custody of the Harris County Sherriff’s Office is suspected to be the man behind the gun. 


After further investigation, authorities learned that the death of Barnes was a result of a mistaken identity. An unnamed informant told activist and journalist Shaun King that the suspects thought the car Barnes and her family was riding was owned by a person they had an altercation with earlier. They only realized the next day when the story came out in the news that they made a mistake. 


Barnes’ death caused a wave of sympathy and outrage over its senselessness. It was initially labeled a hate crime when Barnes’ sisters previously described the shooter as a white man in a red pick-up. Investigators later learned that the man in the pick-up was just a witness. It was likely the children only mistook it as the vehicle carrying the suspect because everything happened so fast and it was also dark. 


Black was taken into custody after he was pulled over by police on January 5 due to a traffic violation. The cops later found marijuana in his car. While in court for a drug violation, police received a tip that the initials of Barnes’ shooters were “EB” and “LW.” Black later confessed to owning a pistol similar to the one used in the murder scene. 

Both Black and Woodruffe have been charged for murder as of Tuesday. 


Barnes was laid to rest on January 8. Among those who helped with the funeral expenses was retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal. He personally visited the family of Barnes and turned over a cashier’s check

Barnes’ white casket was adorned with purple flowers with the words “Princess Jazmine” sewn into its lid. Friends, family, and people who came to pay their respects were mostly wearing purple, Barnes’ favorite color. Her mother read a letter recognizing the day as a celebration with the assurance that Barnes was among the angels in heaven smiling down on them.

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