HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Houston area authorities have released a composite sketch of a man accused in the death of a 7-year-old girl during a shooting that her family believes might have been racially motivated.
The suspect is described as a white man in his 30s or 40s, wearing a black hoodie, with pale skin and blue eyes.
Investigators say he pulled up alongside the car Jazmine Barnes was riding in Sunday with her family and fired into the vehicle.
The suspect had previously been described by authorities as having a beard, but Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says additional information received by investigators made them realize the suspect had more of a “five o’clock shadow.”
Sheriff Gonzalez tweeted out the sketch and said, “This is the man witnesses say murdered 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes on 12/30 as her family drove on the E. Sam Houston Pkwy frontage road at Wallisville Road. Thin white man, 30’s-40’s, in a red pickup. Call 713-221-6000 or
@CrimeStopHOU at 713-222-TIPS #JusticeForJazmine #hounews
At a separate news conference, Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, said she believed the shooting could have been racially motivated. Some Houston activists believe race prompted the shooting and point to an unsolved incident in the area in 2017 in which a suspect described as white shot into a vehicle carrying at least two black people.
Gonzalez said authorities have not yet determined a motive in Sunday’s shooting and have not found links between it and the 2017 cases.
Investigators remain focused on finding the suspect, Gonzalez said.
Washington implored the shooter to turn himself in.
“His conscience is finally going to get to him after he sees my child’s face go across (television screens) so many times. He’s going to turn himself in,” Washington said. “Do the right thing.”
Lee Merritt, a national civil rights attorney with an office in Dallas and New-York-based activist and writer Shaun King, have offered a $100,000 reward for a tip that leads to an arrest.
Merritt, who had been working with Jazmine’s family, said while there is no confirmation the shooting was racially motivated, “we do believe it was racially motivated in part because our nation at this moment is a highly racially charged society.”
Activists planned to hold a community rally on Saturday to knock on doors and pass out the sketch of the suspect in the area where the shooting took place.
Jazmine’s death has prompted an outpouring of support for her family from people, celebrities and sports stars across the country.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)