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Houston Police Search For Gunman Who Killed 7-Year-Old Girl


Was the killing of a 7-year-old girl in Texas this week motivated by race? The girl's mother wants to know. Investigators who are hunting for the killer say so far, they don't have a motive. Florian Martin with Houston Public Media has the story.

FLORIAN MARTIN, BYLINE: It was a little before 7:00 Sunday morning near a Walmart in Harris County, just outside of Houston. LaPorsha Washington was on the way to get coffee with her four daughters in the car. Police say that's when a red pickup truck pulled up next to them, and a man described to be in his 40s opened fire. Washington was hit in the arm. Her 7-year-old daughter, Jazmine Barnes, was shot in the head and died at the scene. Four days after it happened, investigators still don't know much about the suspect and the motive. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says there seems to be no link between the family and the shooter.


ED GONZALEZ: For now, our goal is finding this individual, this coward, this shooter, and finding this vehicle. And so that's our goal, and then everything's still on the table.

MARTIN: Some have suggested a racial motive. The victims are black. The suspected shooter is white. In a phone interview with CNN, LaPorsha Washington wondered herself if it was racial hatred. She says the shooter was able to see into her car when he opened fire.


LAPORSHA WASHINGTON: So you see that it was a mother, a black mother, with four beautiful children, girls, in this car.

MARTIN: Sheriff Gonzalez says while murders happen all the time, this one stings in particular for many people because of the victim's age and the time of the year this happened.


GONZALEZ: It's a time of celebration and fellowship, and closing out a year and starting a new one. All positive, wonderful things that as Americans we all celebrate, all stripped for this particular family. And I think everybody feels that pain.

MARTIN: He says the sheriff's office won't rest until the killer is put behind bars. For NPR News, I'm Florian Martin in Houston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Florian Martin