‘Black People Are Being Targeted:’ Texas Activists Say Little Girl’s Fatal Shooting Was Race-Related

After Jazmine Barnes was gunned down by a passing driver in Houston, believed to be a middle-aged white man, local residents and activists say they believe the same person was responsible for killing A’Vonta Williams in the same area last year.

Could a white man wanted for the senseless shooting death of a 7-year-old black girl, who was killed Sunday morning while riding in the car with her family to a grocery store, be responsible for other, similar racially-motivated shootings around Harris County, Texas?

Local activists seem to think so.

“This isn’t the first time that a black family was ambushed by an unknown white male,” tweeted Lee Merritt, the civil rights attorney who represents Jazmine Barnes’ family, in a tweet thread about the circumstances of the girl's untimely death.

Barnes was shot in the head by someone who is believed to be a white male in a red truck who pulled up alongside the family’s car on Sunday morning.

The suspect then fired multiple shots into the vehicle not far from a Wal-Mart.

"A total of 5 occupants in the car witnessed this child, their loved one, shot and killed before their eyes," the Harris County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Facebook. "So senseless."

The suspect has been described as a white male in his 40s with a beard. The sheriff’s office posted a photo of the suspect’s pickup on Facebook.

Some believe that the most recent child’s death was not a completely isolated incident.

“The exact same thing happened on August 30, 2017 to A’Vonta Williams and his girlfriend’s grandmother,” Merritt also tweeted. “The previous shooter was white male in a silver pickup truck and he is still at large. The shootings occurred in the exact same stretch of highway adjacent to the same Wal-Mart located in Humble,TX.”

Williams’ mother told the New York Times that “it has to be the same person.”

Merritt and the 2017 victim’s family aren’t the only ones who feel that the two shootings, which occurred about six miles apart, could possibly have a connection to each other.

“If A’vonta Williams’ shooter had been found, would Jazmine Barnes still be alive?” Houston-area activist Deric Muhammad asked the Houston Chronicle. “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? 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.”

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters at a Wednesday press conference that his department will look into the 2017 shooting to see if they “may have missed anything.”

Anyone with information about about the murder of Barnes is urged to call Houston Crime Stoppers at 731-222-TIPS (8477)

[Photo Credit: Harris County Sheriff's Office]

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