Perpetrator sought in drive-by killing of 7-year-old Texas girl

A manhunt is underway in Texas for a man who killed a seven-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting Sunday.

The victim was identified as Jazmine Barnes. The child’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, also sustained injuries. The suspect was described as a bearded white male in his 40s who drives a red pickup truck.

Unprovoked attack

Washington was in her car Sunday morning with Barnes and the girl’s three sisters on the service road near a Houston-area Walmart when the suspect drove by and sprayed the car with bullets, injuring Washington in the arm and killing Barnes with a shot to the head. One of Barnes’ sisters was also hurt by shattered glass. Two other girls were not injured.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the shooting was “totally unprovoked” and that the police have no motive, nor do they know if the attack was random or targeted, but they’re leaving “no stone unturned.”

“It’s our belief that it was totally unprovoked, whatever it was, and we’re leaving no stone unturned. We’re going to leave every motive out there as a possibility,” Gonzalez said.

It was initially reported that the attack happened in the Walmart parking lot but now authorities say that the tragedy occurred on the service road nearby. Washington recalled the horrifying seconds when the attack transpired and the immediate aftermath when she realized her daughter had been killed.

“As I turned around and looked back at the street, I heard shots start firing and they came through my window, broke my glass, and hit me in my arm. They sped off in front of us and the truck slowed down and continued to fire as he was in front of us. It was not fair. It was not fair. He intentionally killed my child for no reason. He didn’t even know her, he didn’t know who she was.”

“She [one of her daughters] said, ‘Momma, Jazmine’s not moving. She’s not talking.’ I turned around and my 7-year-old was shot in the head,” Washington said.

The search is ongoing and investigators released surveillance images of the four-door red pickup truck, asking for the public’s help to identify the driver.

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Family grieves

Washington said that she is haunted by the tragic moment when her daughter was randomly and senselessly taken away from her.

“I’ve replayed this moment in my head over a million times. I didn’t do anything,” she said crying. “I didn’t make a wrong turn. I didn’t get over in his lane. He fired off at us for no reason.”

Father Christopher Cevilla made a tearful plea to the public Monday to help catch the man who killed his daughter.

“My daughter was 7 years old, loving, caring, very passionate with people, very sweet, just an innocent young girl,” Cevilla said. “Very smart in school. There’s just a lot of things that’s being robbed of me and my family at this moment that we will never be able to get back.”

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