Vigil held for Jazmine Barnes, killed in 2018 drive-by, on anniversary of funeral

HOUSTON – Wednesday marked one year since 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes was laid to rest after she was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting at the end of 2018.

Family and friends held a candlelight vigil to remember the little girl at Sylvester Turner Park in Acres Home. People wore purple and released purple and white balloons in the little girl’s memory.

Last year Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed Jan. 8 as Jazmine Barnes Day.

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“It’s been rough very rough, we’re standing strong as possible, we’re hanging in there," said Christopher Cevilla, Barnes’ father. “Today marked the day that they laid our angel to rest and today is the day that Mayor Sylvester Turner marked for our day, Jazmine Day."

He recently started a non-profit called the Jazmine Cevilla Outreach Program to help other families in similar situations and to honor his daughter.

Family hold vigil for 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, a year after she was shot and killed in a drive-by.
Family hold vigil for 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, a year after she was shot and killed in a drive-by. (Copyright KPRC - Click2Houston 2020)

Barnes was killed on Dec. 30, 2018, in a drive-by shooting. She was riding with her mother and three sisters on that Sunday morning when a bullet struck her in the head and killed her.

“I just want the proper judgment so that my baby’s soul is laid to rest and the right people will be behind bars and I feel like they deserve,” Cevilla said.

Police arrested Larry Woodruffe and Eric Black Jr. and charged them with capital murder in connection to the case. Last summer, a judge reduced their bond.

READ MORE: Community rallies for Jazmine Barnes, child who was shot to death

“These boys are out on bond, the judge allowed them out on bond. These two child-killers out on bond to do this to another family," said LaPorsha Washington, Barnes’ mother. “My baby was lost by tragedy taken away from us, by teenage boys, that didn’t even know what they were out there doing. From the bottom of my heart, I forgive them, and their family for taking my child because that’s the only peace that I’m going to get.”

Both men are awaiting trial.

Barnes’ death initially gained national attention because some speculated that the crime was racially motivated after it was originally reported that the suspect was a white man in his 40s driving a red truck. At the time police released a sketch of that individual, but the suspect description changed after a tip revealed someone else was behind the shooting.