HOUSTON – Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal and a Houston police officer have covered the funeral costs for a 7-year-old girl who was shot and killed over the weekend.
Jazmine Barnes was shot in the head about 7 a.m. Sunday while her family’s vehicle was traveling on the Beltway 8 feeder road near Wallisville Road.
The story has garnered national attention, including a $100,000 reward being offered by a New York City activist to the person who turns in the gunman.
On Thursday, sources close to the family told KPRC2’s Brandon Walker that O’Neal and Houston Senior Police Officer Kenneth Miles dropped off a cashier’s check to cover the costs of Jazmine’s funeral, which is scheduled for noon Tuesday at Green House International Church on West Greens Road.
"It touched me deeply," Miles said.
Miles told KPRC2 he and O'Neal talked about Jazmime's death and decided to help.
"You can just imagine if one of your children or loved ones were the victims and maybe you having helped could maybe just ease the pain of not worrying about covering that cost," Miles said.
@houstonpolice Officer Kenneth Miles and @SHAQ join forces to cover funeral expenses for 7 year old #JazmineBarnes, the girl shot and killed while riding in a car with her mother and sisters. @kprc2 pic.twitter.com/awv7gtlBQ8— Brandon Walker (@KPRC2Brandon) January 3, 2019
Miles and O'Neal are friends. O'Neal said word of Jazmine's death devastated him.
"I just wanted to keep the pain away, trying to raise money and pay for the funeral because funerals can be quite expensive," O'Neal said in an interview with KPRC2.
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins tweeted Thursday that he would be dedicating Saturday's playoff game to Jazmine and donating his check from the game to help the family.
"I have a 5-year-old daughter, man, so it could have been anybody in that position," Hopkins said.
Investigators described the shooter as a bearded white man, possibly in his 40s, who was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt. He was last seen driving a red four-door pickup.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.