Man Charged With Capital Murder of Houston Girl, 7, Released on Bond

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
July 8, 2019 Updated: July 8, 2019

A 20-year-old man from Texas has been released on bond after he was charged with the capital murder of a 7-year-old girl, who was killed in a fatal shooting in Dec. 2018.

Eric Black Jr.’s release on June 25 came a day after his bond was lowered by $350,000—from $500,000 to $150,000, reported Fox News.

Black, who is one of two suspects accused in the deadly shooting of Houston girl Jazmine Barnes, was arrested on Jan. 8 after the Harris County Police Department received a tip from civil rights activist Shaun King.

Authorities believe Larry Woodruffe, 24, was the active shooter in the tragic murder of Barnes in Dec. 30 last year, and the 20-year-old later allegedly admitted to officers he was involved in the girl’s death, reported ABC 13.

Woodruffe is also charged with capital murder in connection with Barnes’s death.

Speaking after the arrest of the two suspects, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of the Harris County Police Department said, “I am grateful to our dedicated investigators, the partner law enforcement agencies that provided vital assistance, and tipsters from across the nation who pulled together to support our work to get justice for Jazmine.”

“Our work is not finished, but I believe the people of Harris County can take comfort in knowing we have made great progress,” he added.

The suspects fired at the girl by mistake at 6:50 a.m., according to reports. A shot was fired into Barnes’s family car, where the girl was with her three sisters and mother, before the bullet hit her in the head, according to investigators.

Barnes was sadly killed at the scene, while her mother, LaPorsha Washington, was left with injuries.

“At this time, investigators do not believe Jazmine’s family was the intended target of the shooting, and that they were possibly shot as a result of mistaken identity,” the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement in January, CNN reported.

Speaking to ABC13, Washington described Barnes’s final moments before the attack.

“As I turned around and looked back at the street, I heard shots start firing and they came through my window, broke my glass, and hit me in my arm,” she said.

“They sped off in front of us and the truck slowed down and continued to fire as he was in front of us.”

One of the girl’s sisters noticed she wasn’t showing any sign of life, Washington said.

“She said, ‘Momma, Jazmine’s not moving. She’s not talking.’ I turned around and my 7-year-old was shot in the head,” she explained.

Black said he and Woodruffe thought it was another vehicle when they opened fire leaving a Houston-area Walmart parking lot in a rental vehicle, reported ABC 13, citing court documents filed in the case.

The 20-year-old told investigators the pair thought they were firing at an individual they were involved in an argument with at a club the night prior, reported KHOU11.

Investigators discovered a 9 mm handgun, consistent with shell casings found at the crime scene, after Black admitted the pistol used in the murder was located at his home.

Officers initially believed the suspect was a white male in his 40s, driving a red pickup truck, after a description provided by the family, prompting concerns that Barnes’s death was a hate crime.

Court records show Woodruffe has a long criminal record, including arrests for assault on a family member, drug possession, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. In one case, he pleaded guilty in 2017 to trying to choke a woman he was dating.

According to KHOU11, Black is next set to make a court appearance on Aug. 16.

The Associated Press and Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.