2nd Suspect Charged In Murder Of 7-Year-Old Girl In Houston Authorities in Houston, Texas, have charged a second man with murder in the shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. The development came on the day of the girl's funeral.
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2nd Suspect Charged In Murder Of 7-Year-Old Girl In Houston

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2nd Suspect Charged In Murder Of 7-Year-Old Girl In Houston

2nd Suspect Charged In Murder Of 7-Year-Old Girl In Houston

2nd Suspect Charged In Murder Of 7-Year-Old Girl In Houston

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/683501405/683501406" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Authorities in Houston, Texas, have charged a second man with murder in the shooting death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. The development came on the day of the girl's funeral.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Hundreds of people came together at a church in Houston for the funeral of a 7-year-old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting last week. Florian Martin with Houston Public Media has more.

FLORIAN MARTIN, BYLINE: Jazmine Barnes was hit in the head by a bullet while she was riding in the car with her mom and three sisters the morning of December 30. The killing made waves across the nation, in part perhaps because the family initially described the shooter as a white man in a pickup truck. That led many to assume it was a hate crime because the victim is black. Prominent African-Americans across the country pledged their support - some offering large rewards for tips, others paying for Jazmine's funeral.

A week after an intense hunt for the perpetrator, two black men were arrested and charged with capital murder. Prosecutors say it seemed to have been a case of mistaken identity. But the race of those who prematurely ended Jazmine's life did not matter for those attending her funeral service at The Community of Faith, a large African-American church on Houston's north side. The little girl's mother, LaPorsha Washington, was full of gratitude for the large turnout by people from across the city.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LAPORSHA WASHINGTON: I didn't think it was going be this big, but it is big, and it is a celebration. And I just want to thank everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

MARTIN: Jazmine's father, Christopher Cevilla, echoed that feeling.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHRISTOPHER CEVILLA: And she wasn't only my daughter and my baby and my angel, she's all of our daughter - everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

MARTIN: In the service that lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours, besides her parents and clergy, speakers included some local officials. In between, a sometimes solemn, sometimes cheerful gospel choir sang.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHOIR: (Singing) He'll welcome his children home one day. I'm living this life...

MARTIN: The superintendent of the school district Jazmine attended, King Davis, says he was moved to hear she had wanted to become a teacher one day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KING DAVIS: That said so much about Jazmine and her character. She's truly a caring child and wanted to give back as a servant-leader in the role as a teacher.

MARTIN: The man who oversaw the investigation into her death also spoke. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says Jazmine's spirit and the smile she has in many of her pictures touched everyone who worked on the investigation. The sheriff's office announced the capital murder charge of the second suspect while the funeral was happening.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ED GONZALEZ: I spoke recently about the arrest of one individual responsible for Jazmine's death. I said then that while we have made great progress, we would stay the course and complete our complete and follow-up investigation. This is our promise to Jazmine.

MARTIN: At the end of the service, Bishop James Dixon made what he called a compassionate call to action. He says mass shootings and homicides are at epidemic levels, adding to a culture of violence today that can be remedied by instilling values in young people.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JAMES DIXON: Yes, there ought to be an alarm on the inside of every one of us. And we've got to put that alarm in our children before they leave the house.

MARTIN: After the service, pallbearers put Jazmine's white casket into a white hearse, then purple balloons were released into the blue sky. Purple was Jazmine's favorite color.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHOIR: (Singing) Perfect peace.

MARTIN: For NPR News, I'm Florian Martin in Houston.

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