Jazmine Barnes murder suspects allegedly have gang ties

HOUSTON, Texas -- As Jazmine Barnes was laid to rest Tuesday, a second suspect was charged with her murder.

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Larry Woodruffe, 24, now faces a capital murder charge along with Eric Black Jr., 20, who was charged over the weekend.

Investigators say Woodruffe fired eight shots into Jazmine's mother's car early on Sunday, Dec. 30, killing the 7-year-old and injuring her mother. The shooting was reportedly a case of mistaken identity, with the gunfire stemming as retaliation from an earlier fight that didn't involve Jazmine's family.

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On Woodruffe's now-deleted Instagram, a photo was posted after the deadly shooting of the co-defendants. In it, Woodruffe is showing off a fan of cash. Black is flashing gang signs.

Tuesday night, Woodruffe's gang affiliation got the attention of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. On Twitter, he retweeted Houston Police Officers Union President Joe Gamaldi saying, "There are too many gangs in Houston. We must expand the Texas Anti-Gang Task Force in Houston to clean our streets of this trash and restore safety."

According to the 2018 Texas Gang Threat Assessment, there are more than 100,000 gang members in the state. The report says the state's five anti-gang centers work when it comes to targeting gang activity. The first one opened in Houston in 2013. But, in 2017, state police concluded Harris County has the most gang activity in the whole state.

In September, Governor Abbott pledged an additional $10 million to build more anti-gang centers during the opening of the latest one in McAllen. As of then, 10 children had been killed in Houston by gangs in the last year. Officers identified at least 30 gangs present in Houston.

Houston and Harris County have their own task forces to combat gang violence. In 2017, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announced the creation of two new "squads" focused solely on investigating gang activity.


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