HOUSTON (FOX 26) — The murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes is touching hearts all over the country.
In fact, Jazmine’s funeral is being paid for by retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal and veteran Houston Police officer Kenneth Miles. The gift is not only to lighten the heavy load little Jazmine’s parents are carrying but also something for Jazmine herself, as so many try to do something for the beautiful princess who they say was taken unnecessarily and so unfairly.
"When I first heard about the story I was with Shaquille O’Neal and he and I talked about the thought of losing one of our children and instantly it touched our hearts. He actually suggested we come up with something that could lighten the burden, that could help the family out. He and I decided to split the cost of the funeral services,” Officer Miles explains.
We were with Officer Miles as he dropped off the check to the funeral home.
"This is for Jazmine,” he told the funeral director as he handed her the payment. It’s now one less thing for the 7-year-old’s parents to worry about. "I reiterated to them I know this doesn’t replace their loss. This is just something from the both of us that could just help them,” says Officer Miles.
Just down the road from where Jazmine was murdered, a group of residents from the northeast Harris County community are coming together.
"We’re all hurting for the family and we want to bring the killer to justice,” says Judge Joe Stephens.
There is now a sketch of the man who detectives say opened fire on LaPorsha Washington and her 4 little girls on Sunday. Washington was shot in the arm. Her daughter Jazmine was shot in the head and killed.
Some have said they believe the shooting, reportedly by a white man, was racially motivated but the residents gathering today believe it's just too early to come to that conclusion.
"Let’s not stoke any flames. Let’s get to the bottom of who did this and why. I’ve lived here my entire life. This has never been a community filled with hate. We’re a community of love,” adds Stephens who stood alongside area educators, pastors and long time residents of all races.
On Friday night members of several Eastside churches came together to pray for Jazmine's family. It's called the east side prayer meeting and it's been around for some 9 years. It happens on the first Friday of every month. This prayer meeting was to remember Jazmine Barnes, her family and how God will see everyone through this tragedy.