Shattered community says goodbye to 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes

The white casket of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, killed in a drive-by shooting, was carried into a church Tuesday, a tiara among the purple and white flowers that topped it.

Inside the casket, pink hearts adorned the words "Princess Jazmine." On its side were the words "Jazmine 'Jazzy Fay' Barnes," the nickname for the girl who loved hugs, playing "classroom" and singing louder than the radio.

Despite police reporting the youngster was shot in the head, her family opted for an open casket. Jazmine wore a floral print skirt, pink blouse and pink cardigan. A bejeweled headpiece was wrapped around her braided hair.

Visitation began in the 2,000-person sanctuary of Community of Faith Church in Houston an hour before the funeral was scheduled to begin.

The Sheldon Independent School District, where Jazmine was a student at Monahan Elementary, has urged mourners to wear purple in Jazmine's memory.

A store run turns tragic

Jazmine was shot the morning of December 30 as she sat in the back seat of her mother's car during a trip to Joe V's Smart Shop. LaPorsha Washington, Jazmine's mother, said she noticed a red or maroon pickup truck stop next to them at a red light.

Soon after, shots began targeting their car, shattering windows and injuring Washington. Jazmine, who would have turned 8 next month, was shot in the head and killed.

Harris County police said they believed the attack was "totally unprovoked."

The Harris County Sheriff's Office filed capital murder charges against Eric Black Jr., 20. He is being held without bail.

Prosecutors said he confessed to driving the car from which Jazmine was shot, and a gun found in his home was consistent with eight shell casings found at the scene. A second man opened fire on the vehicle carrying Washington and her daughters, authorities said.

An anonymous tipster told police that Black and a second person, identified as "L.W.," shot at the car after mistaking it for another one.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez declined to name the second person, citing the investigation. Prosecutors identified Larry Woodruffe as the second suspect, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Jail records indicate Woodruffe is in custody on drug possession charges. He has not been charged in connection with the shooting.

The community rallies behind Jazmine's family

Hundreds gathered Saturday to honor Jazmine outside a Walmart near where she was killed.

"Every time I see one of y'all reach out for me, I can hold my head up," her mother said. "I can get up in the morning."

Jazmine's case has moved thousands of people across the country.

Social activist Shaun King and civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt helped raise a $100,000 reward last week for information leading to a break in the case.

A GoFundMe account set up to help cover funeral costs has raised more than $82,000 from nearly 3,000 donors.

NBA great Shaquille O'Neal also has donated to help cover funeral costs. O'Neal and a Houston police officer, Kenneth Miles, brought a cashier's check to the family last week to pay for the funeral.

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