Tips coming in: Search continues for man who killed 7-year-old girl

By Sophia Beausoleil - Reporter, Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - Tips are coming in as the search continues for the man who killed a 7-year-old girl in east Harris County over the weekend, officials said Wednesday.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said tips are coming both locally and nationally in connection with the death of Jazmine Barnes. 

“We need to be very deliberate,” Gonzalez said about the vetting process of the tips that are being received.

Investigators said the family’s vehicle was traveling on the Beltway 8 feeder road near Wallisville Road about 7 a.m. Sunday when a red pickup pulled alongside and someone in the truck began shooting.

The gunman was described 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.

Gonzalez said investigators are working to gather more images of the vehicle and develop a sketch of the gunman. He said he hopes to release the sketch Thursday.

“We absolutely do hope to have more images,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said patrols have been increased in the area where the shooting happened, involving multiple law enforcement agencies, as the search for the gunman continues.

“It’s not easy,” Gonzalez said. “We need help.”

Activist Shaun King is offering a $50,000 reward for anyone who turns in the person responsible for Barnes' slaying.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.

Community activists said they plan to hold a rally and pass out flyers Saturday in an effort to spread awareness about the case.

Even though authorities said they are looking into leads, they do not know of a motive.

Some people in the community are convinced it’s connected to a shooting from last year.

On Wednesday morning, community activist Deric Muhammad, along with Pastor E.A. Deckard, spoke to reporters alongside the mother of a man who was shot in the same area in 2017.

“I thank God that he’s here, but look at what happened. Jazmine is not here. She’s 7 years old. She had a life to live, but now a coward took her from the family, and I want justice for Jazmine, as well as for A’vonta,” explained Kisshima Williams.

A’Vonta Williams was shot in both legs near the Walmart on Wallisville right after Hurricane Harvey. He survived. His family, along with Muhammad and Deckard, are convinced his shooting is connected to Barnes' case, but the Sheriff’s Office said at this time there is no evidence to support that.

A spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said detectives are comparing notes to make sure they don’t miss anything. HCSO said in regards to Williams’ case, the area was highly intense due to Harvey.

Witnesses claimed an individual shot at several vehicles in the area, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

A spokesperson said whoever shot at Williams used a rifle, while someone used a handgun in Barnes’ case.

Gonzalez told KPRC they are looking into everything. He said he is aware of the Williams case, but they haven’t made any linkage to it.

“We did work on the case and did conduct a follow-up but were unable to develop a suspect,” explained Gonzalez.

The local activists are convinced race was behind both attacks, but Gonzalez said investigators don’t have evidence that was the case.

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