The parents of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes gunned down in a case of mistaken identity celebrated her young life during a funeral January 8. Her family and Houston community is still trying to come to grips with the shock and pain of such a violent act that claimed the life of such a young, innocent victim.
They expressed gratitude for the enormous outpouring of love they have received. Hundreds of mourners filled the Community of Faith Church sanctuary to LaPorsha Washington’s surprise, so much so that she wept while reading expressions penned by Jazmine’s aunt. James Eric Barnes, Jazmine’s stepfather, spoke briefly about the “little princess” whose family said just loved life.
Mr. Barnes called her a gift that is still with him, before becoming overwhelmed. “I cried for days. I stayed away for days. … Just praise the Lord,” he said.
Christopher Cevilla, Jaszmine’s biological father, said God saw fit to take his angel back to Him, but her job on Earth was done perfectly. “She brought so much peace and unity around the world to many, many families, healed and bonded so many broken relationships around the world, not just in Houston,” he stated.
“She wasn’t only my daughter and my baby and my angel. She’s all of our daughter, everybody … ,” Mr. Cevilla stated.
On December 30 a gunman opened fire on Ms. Washington’s vehicle carrying Jazmine and her three sisters at approximately 6:50 a.m. near a Walmart in Houston. Jazmine was shot in the head, her mother in an arm, and her six-year-old sister was hit by broken glass.
Eyewitnesses alleged the shooter was a thin, White man, in his 30’s-40’s, driving a red pickup truck. On January 3, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide investigators released a sketch police said was created based on a description provided by members of Jazmine’s family.
At a live press briefing on January 6, Sheriff Edward Gonzalez said the focus changed from a White male, because police know the truck which came to a stop at a traffic signal near Ms. Washington’s vehicle. The signal changed, and the truck drove off. Sheriff Gonzalez said police believe that truck probably entered the freeway and continued on in another direction.
“We believe now that that red truck and the driver is most likely just a witness either by sight or sound to what actually transpired,” said Sheriff Gonzalez, who called on the driver to come forward to shed light on the incident.
“This is so heartbreaking, and this is a situation where you wish with all your heart and soul you could do something to rewind the clock and undo this,” said Dr. Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
The attorney, a popular radio show host and author, said the devastation that Jazmine’s death has left in its wake speaks to the futility of Blacks continuing to try to make a place for themselves in the United States of America.