HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – While authorities in the Houston area try to find whomever shot and killed a 7-year-old girl while in her mother’s car Sunday, Houston Texans Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is responding in his own way to try to help her family.
On Twitter, Hopkins said, “When I see Jazmine Barnes’ face, I see my own daughter. I’m pledging my playoff check this week to help her family with funeral costs and to support @shaunking @SherriffED_HCSO @SylvesterTurner in bringing this man to justice. On Saturday, I will be playing in your honor, Jazmine”
Later in the locker room on Thursday, Hopkins, who has a 5-year-old daughter, went into more detail with the media, saying, “The city of Houston has always been supportive of me and this team so in my heart I felt it was the right thing to give back to those who are down… What I can do, that’s nothing, that won’t bring back a person, so I’m not trying to make it all about me but the least I could do is help out.”
Later in the day, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted a sketch of the suspect, saying, “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”
Sheriff Gonzalez said the investigation into Barnes’ death Sunday is focused on collecting evidence and developing leads. A determination on motive will come later.
“We’re not tone deaf to some of the concerns in our community where this could be potentially race related,” Gonzalez said, explaining that road rage could be another consideration. But he added that he doesn’t want speculation on a possible motive to limit the scope of an investigation that has one primary aim: finding the shooter.
The sheriff added that investigators are “not ruling anything out.”
Authorities are searching for a white, bearded man who was driving a red, four-door pickup captured on surveillance video shortly before the shooting in the eastern outskirts of Houston. Jazmine died at the scene and her mother, LaPorsha Washington, suffered a gunshot wound to the arm. The driver of the pickup pulled alongside Washington’s car and fired inside, authorities have said.
Houston activists earlier Wednesday held a news conference, saying they believed the attack was racially motivated and pointed to a unsolved incident in the area in 2017 in which a suspect described as white shot into a vehicle carrying at least two black people.
“Black people are being targeted in this country. Black people are being targeted in this county. Black people are being targeted in this city,” activist Deric Muhammad said. “So we are thoroughly convinced that the killing of Jazmine Barnes was race related.”
Gonzalez said his office is revisiting the 2017 case as part of the investigation into Jazmine’s death. He has described Sunday’s shooting as “totally unprovoked” and asked people who live nearby to review their surveillance videos.
Lee Merritt, a national civil rights attorney with an office in Dallas, and New-York-based activist and writer Shaun King have offered a $50,000 reward for a tip that leads to an arrest.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)