HOUSTON (CN) – An attorney and an activist are offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a white man who shot into a black woman’s car in Houston and killed her 7-year-old daughter.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at a news conference Wednesday that detectives are looking for a white man in his 40s with a beard who pulled his red pickup next to LaPorsha Washington’s car on an East Houston road and opened fire car around 7 a.m. Sunday morning.
Washington said when she heard the gunshots she threw herself over her oldest daughter in the front seat, and screamed “Get down!” to her three daughters in the back seat.
Her daughter Jazmine Barnes was shot in the head and killed, and she was shot in the arm.
“Her dream was to be a teacher. This is a loss to her family, community & country. This sweet angel could’ve grown up to be a great educator, superintendent, or president. We were all robbed of her potential by the cowardly acts of this gunman,” Sheriff Gonzalez tweeted Thursday morning.
The family’s attorney S. Lee Merritt and civil rights activist Shaun King put up a $60,000 reward Wednesday for any leads on the shooter. The reward had grown to $75,000 by Thursday morning.
Gonzalez said detectives do not yet have a motive, but he said he shares the concerns of Houston activist Deric Muhammad that the shooting may have been racially motivated.
Speaking to reporters outside a sheriff’s office substation Wednesday morning, Muhammad said he believes the shooter is the same man who randomly shot into A’vonta Williams’ car from a gray pickup truck in August 2017 because the shootings happened in the same area.
Williams took bullets in his legs and his grandmother, who was riding with him, was shot in the hip, the Houston Chronicle reported.
No one has been arrested for Williams’ shooting.
“What are the odds that two black families were fired upon by a white male in a pickup truck within a one-year time span on the same block?” Muhammad said. “We’ve got to call it what it is. Black people are being targeted in this country. Black people are being targeted in this county. Black people are being targeted in this city. We are thoroughly convinced that the killing of Jazmine Barnes was race related.”
A community rally for Barnes is scheduled for Saturday at noon in the parking lot of a Walmart her mother was driving to when the shooter opened fire.
Her funeral is set for Jan. 8 at noon at the Green House International Church in Houston.