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By Phil Helsel
Police in the Houston area said Saturday that they are interviewing “persons of interest” in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl as she was riding in a car with her family.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office tweeted shortly before 10 p.m., “The Jazmine Barnes Homicide investigation has taken a new direction” and “Detectives are in the process of interviewing persons of interest.”
The possible role of the people being interviewed was not immediately clear, and no arrests were announced. The sheriff’s office said more details would be released as soon as possible.
Jazmine was killed after a gunman believed to have been driving a red pickup truck fired into the car that she was riding in with her mother and siblings at around 6:50 a.m. Sunday, officials said.
The suspect has been described by the sheriff’s office as a white man possibly in his 30s or 40s. A sketch of him, that sheriff’s office said was created based on a description provided by members of Jazmine’s family, was released this week by the sheriff’s office.
The girl’s mother, who was wounded, has said she believed the shooting was possibly a hate crime.
Earlier Saturday, community members held a rally near the business close to where the shooting took place, calling for justice for the slain girl.
Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, said at the rally that she believed the killer would be caught, and that “there’s too many people out here looking for this man.”
Jan. 6, 201900:51
The killing prompted gestures of support, and more than $100,000 was raised for a reward in an effort spearheaded by civil rights activist Shaun King.
Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal and a Houston police officer stepped up to pay for the girl’s funeral. Houston Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said he would pledge his playoff check to help the family and effort to find the suspect.