US & Canada

Jazmine Barnes: Texas police release sketch of drive-by gunman

A composite sketch of suspected gunman Image copyright Harris County Police
Image caption The suspect is described as having blue eyes and pale skin
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Police in Texas have released a composite sketch of the suspect wanted in connection with the murder of a seven-year-old girl.

Jazmine Barnes was killed in a drive-by shooting on her family's car near a Houston-area Walmart store on Sunday.

Her mother, LaPorsha Washington, was also shot during the attack. Three other children were also in the car.

The FBI have joined local police in hunting for the suspect, who police say is a white male in his 30s or 40s.

They say he was driving a red pick-up truck and wearing a black hoodie when he pulled up alongside the family and opened fire.

The case has gained prominence across the US, and celebrities have joined the appeal to find Jazmine's killer using the hashtag #JusticeForJazmine.

Image copyright Chris Cevilla/GoFundMe
Image caption Jazmine Barnes was shot and killed in her family's car

The new sketch, published on Thursday, was compiled from testimony by Ms Washington and two of her daughters, aged 13 and 15, who were in the car at the time.

Alxis Dilbert, the 15-year-old, told a local news channel that she saw the suspect's face.

"You know when you're driving and you look in someone's car and you make eye contact? It was like that," she told ABC13.

On Friday police said the sketch has led to "many potential leads" that are currently being investigated.

Harris County Sherriff Ed Gonzalez has said authorities are "not going to rest" until they find Jazmine's killer.

His department also released enhanced surveillance footage of the suspect's vehicle on Thursday.

Campaigners fear the shooting, on an African-American family by a white male, may have been a hate crime.

Mr Gonzalez has said police are "not tone-deaf" to community concerns the attack was race-related but have not established any motive.

"Our focus right now is identifying who this individual is, who this coward is and identifying this truck as soon as possible," he said at a news conference on Thursday.

Jazmine's mother, 30, who was shot in the arm, tearfully recounted the attack from her hospital bed in the shooting aftermath.

She has urged the shooter to "do the right thing" and come forward.

"His conscience is finally going to get to him after he sees my child's face go across (television screens) so many times. He's going to turn himself in," Ms Washington said, AP reports.

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Media caption"I knew she was gone": Jazmine's mother speaks from hospital

A $100,000 (£79,300) reward has been offered by civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt and activist Shaun King.

The two have been helping to lead online appeals for information, which they say they are passing on to authorities.

A community rally is planned on Saturday in the area near to where the shooting took place.

Former basketball player Shaquille O'Neal and NFL star DeAndre Hopkins have both donated to Jazmine's family to help pay for the girl's funeral on Tuesday.

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