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Police are searching for white male who shot and killed black 7-year-old in “unprovoked" attack

"It's our belief that it was totally unprovoked, whatever it was, and we're leaving no stone unturned," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

by Tess Owen
Jan 2 2019, 3:18pm

Police in Texas are looking for a gunman described as a white male in his 40s, who killed a 7-year-old girl when he opened fire on a black family’s car in the Houston area last weekend.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters the shooting was “totally unprovoked” but declined to speculate further on the motive.

LaPorsha Washington, 30, and her four daughters, between the ages of 6 and 15, were driving to get coffee early Sunday, just before 7 a.m., when a red pickup truck pulled up beside them. From the driver’s seat, the gunman fired several shots into Washington’s car and hit 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was later pronounced dead at the scene. Washington was shot in the arm, and shattered glass injured her 6-year-old daughter.

“He intentionally killed my child for no reason,” Washington told KTRK-TV from her hospital bed. “He didn't even know her. He didn't know who she was."

Washington added that one of her other daughters first realized that Jazmine was dead. "She said, 'Momma, Jazmine's not moving. She's not talking’,” Washington told the news station. “I turned around and my 7-year-old was shot in the head."

Investigators in Houston said earlier this week that they were working with surveillance video of the red pickup truck recorded prior to the shooting and considered the footage a vital piece of evidence in the search for the suspect.

Washington’s eldest daughter caught a glimpse of the alleged shooter and described him as a white, bearded male in his 40’s, wearing a red hoodie, Harris County Lt. Christopher Sandoval told reporters.

"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. “There was nothing to indicate that the family did anything wrong in any way. They were simply just driving along the service road when this happened to them."

Journalist Shaun King and civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt have put together a $35,000 cash reward for tips leading to the arrest of the shooter.

Cover image: Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez speaks during a news conference, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Houston. (Nicole Hensley/Houston Chronicle via AP)