HOUSTON - As two men have been taken into custody in connection with the shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, the family has been keeping up to speed on all the developments in the case.
Soon after the suspects appeared in court on Sunday morning, Barnes' father, Christopher Cevilla expressed his reaction to the evolvements of the case.
"I feel some relief 'cause now my baby's got justice, and we can properly put her to rest without having to put her to rest and be still on a manhunt looking for a suspect, suspects. whatever it may be," Cevilla said,
"I'm hurt, I'm upset, but at the same time, I'm happy law enforcement did their job."
Lee Merritt, an attorney who has been advising the family during their time of grieving, was present with Cevilla when the father spoke about the latest in the case.
"The perpetrator doesn't have to be white or politically motivated for the community to wrap their arms around this family. So we appreciate everyone who did give and want to make sure that those funds are used to uphold the legacy of Jazmine Barnes," Merritt said.
There has been a lot of discussion across the community about the search for a suspect, who had been described as a white man wearing a black hoodie in a red pickup truck. A sketch had even been released. When the two men taken into custody were African-American, the prior description didn't fit the focus of the intense investigation that had been going on for a week.
Some community members initially believed that the shooting may have been racially motivated. Merritt reflected on this thought process that had been simmering.
"Hate crimes are on the rise. Without more, it was a natural assumption. It was a lead that should have been investigated to an end, and it was. And it turned out not to be the case, and we were able to put it to bed," Merritt said.
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