Jazmine Barnes, a 7-year-old black girl, was buried this week in Harris County, Texas. She was fatally shot while sitting in the car with her mother and siblings on the morning of Dec. 30.
Initial reports stated that the shooter was a white man. Those reports led to a national outcry that this was a racially motivated attack. Activists and politicians demanded that the shooting be investigated as a hate crime. But in the days since the shooting, deputies in Harris County have charged two black men in relation to the shooting.
Gene Demby spoke to David Greene of Morning Edition about what this incident reveals about the current landscape of race and violence in the United States.
The interview has been edited and condensed.
David Greene: Could you walk us through the timeline of events in this story?
Gene Demby: Jazmine Barnes was in a car with her mother and three sisters on Dec. 30 near a Walmart when shots rang out. Her mother was shot in the arm but survived. But Jazmine, who was 7, was shot in the head and died at the scene. The other girls in the car during the shooting said the gunshots came from a red pickup truck driven by a white male. And The New York Times reports that there was another still unsolved shooting in 2017 in the same area that witnesses say was committed by a white man in a Ford pickup.
So that, in combination with a police sketch of the suspect, created a real fear that this was a racially motivated attack.