A Houston father is pleading with the public and looking for answers after a gunman killed Jazmine Barnes, his 7-year-old daughter, in a drive-by shooting Sunday morning.
“I just want anybody, whoever out there that knows anything about the murder of my daughter, to just please step up as if it was your own,” Jazmine’s father, Christopher Cevilla, said at a news conference Monday, according to People.
“Just put yourself in my shoes — in my family’s shoes,” he said.
Jazmine was with her mother, LaPorsha Washington, 30, at the time of the shooting. Her three siblings, two teens and one 6-year-old, were also in the car.
Washington was shot once in the arm while trying to shield one of her children, KTRK reported. The 6-year-old was injured from shards of broken glass. The teens were able to escape the car without injuries.
Washington spoke to KTRK from her hospital bed about the shooting.
“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. It was not fair. It was not fair. He intentionally killed my child for no reason. He didn’t even know her, he didn’t know who she was.
“He took away an innocent child. She did not deserve this. She did not deserve this at all,” she said.
Washington said one of her children was the first to realize Jazmine was dead.
“A total of 5 occupants in the car witnessed this innocent child, their loved one, shot and killed before their eyes. So senseless,” Harris County Shefiff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter on Sunday. “It’s never easy, and extra hard during the holiday season.”
“We won’t rest until this precious child’s killer is brought to justice,” he said on Monday.
Authorities described the suspect as a white man in his 40s with a beard and wearing a red hooded sweatshirt. He was believed to have been driving a red four-door truck. The make and model is unclear.
“We’re not going to rule anything out,” Gonzalez said at a news conference. “At this point, our focus is identifying who the shooter is and locating him and after that we can determine motive.”
“I need everyone to pull together to get justice for my child,” Washington said.
Cevilla set up a GoFundMe page to help with family expenses. It has surpassed its $6,500 goal.
Police ask anyone with information on the shooting to call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office at 713-274-9100 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477. Tips can also be submitted anonymously online at Crime-Stoppers.org.
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