(HOUSTON) — Relatives and strangers gathered in Houston on Saturday to rally for action in the search for the man who fatally shot 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes.
Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, was one of those who spoke to the crowd, calling for justice for her daughter.
She said that she feels optimistic about the ongoing manhunt because there were so many people gathered and so many people involved in the effort.
“I feel it in the bottom of my heart,” Washington said.
“I’ve got a beautiful angel up there watching over me,” she said.
Police released a composite sketch of the man they believe fired on the family’s car on Dec. 30, killing Jazmine.
In addition to the aunts and great aunts of both Jazmine and Washington who spoke at the rally, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the Democrat whose district includes most of central Houston, also spoke, telling attendees to call the Department of Justice about the case.
“Do not be afraid to call this what it seems to be, a hate crime,” she said.
Investigators have not officially determined the shooting to be a hate crime.
When Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez released the composite sketch on Thursday, he noted that the suspect was described as having pale skin, blue eyes, and a thin build.
Jazmine’s family believes the shooting was a hate crime, especially since the gunman appeared to have deliberately looked inside both sides of the car before he opened fire, their attorney Lee Merritt told reporters on Thursday.
Washington thanked both the celebrities who have raised awareness about the case and those who rallied today, saying that not only were they inspiring to her but also to her children, who are grappling with the death of their sibling.
“Y’all giving them so much strength,” Washington said.
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