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Prosecutor: Girl Died Because Suspects Went After Wrong Car

Authorities say shooter hit vehicle believing it had people from an earlier bar fight
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 8, 2019 8:07 AM CST
This undated image provided the Harris County Sheriff's Office shows Eric Black Jr.   (Harris County Sheriff's Office via AP)
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(Newser) – Two men suspected in a drive-by shooting that killed a 7-year-old black Houston girl and that was initially investigated as a possible hate crime mistakenly thought they were attacking people whom they had fought with at a club hours earlier, a prosecutor said Monday. One of the men, Eric Black Jr., appeared in court Monday on a capital murder charge in the Dec. 30 killing of Jazmine Barnes, per the AP. Black, 20, didn't speak during the brief hearing or answer reporters' questions as he was being led into the courtroom. Black, who is African-American, was arrested Saturday during a traffic stop. Prosecutors allege that he told investigators he was driving the SUV from which an unidentified passenger fired at Jazmine, her three sisters, and mother as they were on their way to a grocery store.

Authorities have declined to name the suspected shooter or say whether he has been arrested, but Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he is also black. Based on the family's account of what happened, authorities initially believed that a white man in a red pickup truck was behind the attack. But they later received a tip from Shaun King, a civil rights activist who writes about racial issues and has a large social media following. The tip implicated two black men in the shooting. Prosecutor Samantha Knecht told a judge Monday that the unidentified passenger fired on the family's car in a case of mistaken identity, thinking it belonged to people he and Black had fought with at a club hours before the shooting. She declined to comment about the second suspect. (An NFL star donated his playoff check to Jazmine's family.)


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