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Police charge suspect over shooting of seven-year-old girl in Texas

Investigators said the case had ‘taken a new direction’ shortly before the charges were announced.

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People attend a community rally for seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle/AP)

People attend a community rally for seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle/AP)

People attend a community rally for seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle/AP)

Authorities in Texas have charged a 20-year-old man over the shooting death of a seven-year-old black girl who was killed while a passenger in a car with her family.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Eric Black Jr was charged with murder over the death of Jazmine Barnes.

At a court hearing on Sunday prosecutors said Eric Black Jr, who is black, admitted to investigators he was driving a dark Kia four-wheel drive vehicle when a passenger in it identified as “Larry” opened fire on the car carrying Jazmine.

Investigators identified Black as a suspect after receiving a tip, Harris County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.

“Investigators do not believe Jazmine’s family was the intended target of the shooting,” the statement said.

“They were possibly shot as a result of mistaken identity.”

Jazmine was fatally shot in Houston on December 30 after authorities said a suspect pulled alongside the vehicle the girl was in and opened fire.

Jazmine died at the scene, while her mother was shot in the arm. The shooting happened as the family was heading to a shop.

Officials also said investigators were looking into the possibility that others could be charged in the case.

Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, has said she believes the shooting was racially motivated.

The alleged shooter was earlier described as a white man in a red truck.

Hundreds of people gathered at a rally on Saturday for the girl near where the shooting happened.

People held up balloons and stuffed animals, as well as signs that said “Justice for Jazmine”.

A 100,000 dollar (£79,000) reward was being offered for information leading to an arrest in Jazmine’s case.

PA Media