Even After A Tip, Texas Sheriff And Shaun King Pushed False Narrative In Jazmine Barnes Murder

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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  • Shaun King and Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez received a tip Sunday that led to the arrest of a suspect in the murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes.
  • Barnes’s killer was initially described as a white male, leading to widespread allegations that she was the victim of a hate crime. But Gonzalez revealed Sunday that a black man has been arrested in the case.
  • New questions are being raised though, after it was revealed that King and Gonzalez received the tip on Jan. 3. Both pushed the theory of a white suspect even after receiving the tip.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and activist Shaun King continued pushing the theory that a white man murdered Jazmine Barnes, even after both had received a tip that the 7-year-old Houston girl’s killer was black.

Gonzalez acknowledged at a press conference Sunday that he received a tip from King in the middle of the week that Barnes’s killer was not the white male initially suspected in the case.

King wrote Sunday on Instagram that he received the tip on Jan. 3 that a 20-year-old black man named Eric Black Jr. and another man had shot Barnes. (RELATED: Investigation Into Shooting Of Jazmine Barnes Has Taken A ‘New Direction’)

The girl was killed around 7 a.m. on Dec. 30 while riding in a car with her mother and three siblings.

“I reported this to the Sheriff immediately, because the witness was so compelling, but the sheriff and I both just could not make sense of it,” King wrote Sunday, shortly after Black Jr. had been charged with capital murder.

But King and Gonzalez’s timelines raise questions because both continued disseminating information suggesting that the suspect in the shooting was white.

Gonzalez retweeted posts as recently as Saturday of a composite sketch of a white man who was initially sought as a suspect in the case.

Pictured are screen grabs of retweets from Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

It is unclear what time Gonzalez circulated the tweets. He said Sunday that Black Jr. was apprehended on Saturday afternoon.

King also circulated the sketch after receiving the tip. He posted a request Friday on Twitter for information about Robert Cantrell, a white man who had been arrested in the Houston area on felony charges. Cantrell’s mugshot closely resembles the composite sketch, which was drawn by celebrity sketch artist Lois Gibson.

Gibson is the same artist who drew a composite of a man who porn star Stormy Daniels claimed threatened her in 2011. That composite bears a striking resemblance to the sketch in the Barnes case.

Barnes’s murder drew widespread national media attention, partly because of suspicions that she was killed in a racially motivated shooting.

Barnes’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, asserted the shooting was a hate crime.

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee echoed that theory at a rally Saturday.

“Do not be afraid to call this what it seems to be: a hate crime,” the Democrat told a crowd gathered at the Houston Walmart near where Barnes was killed.

The suspect in the case was initially described as a white male in his 30s or 40s driving a red pickup truck.

King and other activists and celebrities pushed that theory, with King setting a $100,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.

Gonzalez said Sunday that the sheriff’s office received up to a thousand tips in the case. He also said he did not believe that there was anything nefarious behind a white man being falsely fingered as the initial suspect. He said the man driving the red truck was likely merely a witness who sped away after hearing gun fire.

This is not the first case in which King has made false allegations in racially charged cases.

King accused a Texas state trooper on May 20, 2018 by name of sexually assaulting a black woman while she was in jail. (RELATED: Shaun King Falsely Accuses Texas State Trooper Of Sexually Assaulting Woman)

The woman, Sherita Dixon-Cole, was a close friend of Lee Merritt, the same attorney who is working with Barnes’s family, King wrote at the time.

King acknowledged three days later that video footage showed the trooper did not assault Dixon-Cole.

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