The Tragic Death of Jazmine Barnes

By Sierra Smith Class of 2020

On December 30th, 2018 seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes was killed by Eric Black Jr. and Larry Woodruffe after being struck by a bullet in a drive-by shooting. Whilst leaving a Walmart parking lot with her family Laporsha Washington (her mother) recalls a red pickup truck pulling up beside her vehicle and seeing” shattered glass and bullets coming towards [her] car.” Ultimately, after their arrest, Eric Black Jr. and Larry Woodruff are set to be tried for capital murder.

At first, Jazmine’s case sparked the attention of the black community because witnesses described the shooter as a thin white man in his 30s and 40s as shown in a police sketch.                                                                     

Figure 1: The police sketch made using the description La’porsha Washington and her daughters gave, alongside the mugshot of Larry Woodruffe
Figure 2: Mugshot of Eric Black Jr. the first suspect arrested after confessing to his crimes

People speculated that the shooting could potentially be racially motivated, yet after confessing to his crimes Eric Black Jr. was arrested along with Larry Woodruffe later on. This was a great shock to me because despite the fact that Laporsha stated that the man she saw in the truck was white , which also corroborated with one of her daughter’s statements, the men arrested were African American. The contradiction in statements and arrest has caused me and many others to distrust the reliability of the police force’s arrest.

Regardless of speculations, this tragedy was a prime example of how gun violence can tear apart families and bring great sorrow to communities across the country. Jazmine never got the chance to enjoy her youth fully because it was wrongfully taken away at the hands of violence. My condolences go out to Jazmine’s  sisters who were present in the car who will now and forever remember the brutal death of their younger sister, Ms. Washington, in having to face the harsh reality that her daughter was taken away in a matter of seconds, and Jazmine’s family who has to plan and execute a funeral for their little girl at the tender age of seven.

Ultimately, the result of gun violence not only affects the victim, but the lives of their loved ones thereafter. Violence (specifically in the black community) is making our communities hazardous especially for children who will grow up worrying about the safety of their own neighborhoods.

                                            Rest In Paradise Jazmine Barnes

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