A 7-year-old girl was killed in Houston on Sunday, when an apparently unprovoked man pulled up beside her family's car and opened fire. A manhunt is currently underway, but whether you're from Texas or not, you may want to know how to help Jazmine Barnes' family as they cope with the young girl's sudden death.
Jazmine's mother, LaPorsha Washington, as well as Jazmine's 6-year-old sister, were injured in the attack. Jazmine reportedly died in the backseat of the family's car, according to the BBC. Jazmine's 15-year-old sister reportedly caught a glimpse of the man, and described him as a bearded, white, possibly 40-something year old man driving a red pickup truck. Barnes and her family are black, but authorities have not determined whether or not they believe the shooting was a racially motivated hate crime. The sheriff's office has asked anyone with any relevant information to come forward to police.
"To our public, we say this could be your family next because this person is out there somewhere," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters during a press conference on Monday, according to NBC News. "This was unprovoked and senseless.
It goes without saying that one of the best ways to help Jazmine's family would be by providing any relevant information about the perpetrator to Texas authorities. Those with information can call the Harris County Sheriff's Office at 713-221-6000, or else Crime Stoppers Houston at 713-222-TIPS. But there are other ways to lend a hand, too.
Jazmine's father, Christopher Cevilla started a GoFundMe fundraiser on Dec. 31, requesting "help with any expenses that our family may need during this tragedy."
"I hope and pray for my family to find peace and justice for our loss," Cevilla wrote in the fundraiser's description. "I could never imagine the day of losing one of my own children let alone the youngest of my 8 in such a selfish and [senseless] way."
Although Cevilla wrote that the fundraiser was directed at friends and family with available resources, as of Wednesday afternoon, over 800 people had donated more than a cumulative $21,000.
Additionally, civil rights activist Shaun King has personally offered a substantial reward for the person who turns in the suspect. Initially, he offered $25,000, but by Wednesday afternoon, he doubled his offer to $50,000, in cash.
"I have now located several credible eyewitnesses with essential new information and have screened them and passed them on to @SheriffEd_HCSO," King wrote. "It’s not enough, but gives us many more details. Our reward is now $50,000. #JusticeForJazmine."
Sharing King's posts to social media could be another way to encourage witnesses to share any information that they have with authorities. Additionally, spreading awareness about the incident, in general, could help her family find justice. Whether or not those with information intend to seek any potential rewards, witnesses or people who personally know the perpetrator may feel inclined to offer whatever knowledge they have to authorities, and signal boosts could help make that a reality.
King has also been sharing photos and videos of Jazmine to his sizable Twitter following. Jazmine's family sent him the photos and asked him to post them, according to King. Those with information may email King at firstname.lastname@example.org. He has offered anonymity to those providing information.
“We appreciate Mr. King’s efforts to get these monies together to be able to help and raise more awareness,” Sheriff Gonzalez told KPRC-TV. “We’re doing everything possible, working around the clock to get this solved. And we will solve it. we’re not gonna stop until it gets resolved. It's just a matter of going through [the tips], which we are and obviously, some are going to be a little more credible than others, but we welcome all phone calls and we’re going to track everything down."