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Disparity between description, suspect draws attention in Jazmine Barnes case

The lawyer for Jazmine's father says considering the possibility this could have been a hate crime at first was a "natural" conclusion.

HOUSTON — Lots of people are sharing their reactions to the arrest of Eric Black, Jr. who has been charged in connection with the death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes.

Some are drawing attention to the disparity between the suspect and the artist's sketch provided to the public.

The race of the man accused of killing Barnes did not appear to matter to her father, Christopher Cevilla.

"I'm hurt, I'm upset," Cevilla said. "At the same time I'm happy law enforcement did their job."

Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, was not at the news conference.

When we reached after the news conference, Washington declined to comment on the case.

Cevilla's lawyer says considering the possibility this could have been a hate crime at first was a natural conclusion.

"White people generally commit crimes against white people, black people generally commit crimes against black people," attorney Lee Merritt said. "When you have the facts as they're coming in of a white person committing a crime against a black person without any other motivation, there's a natural inference that there is a racial implication involved."

Minister Aaron Robertson had been praying for an arrest but was shocked when the suspect turned out to be the 20-year-old living next door.

"I was very surprised. Very surprised," Robertson said. "I looked at my wife and said, 'It's the guy next door.' We never saw this coming."

Robertson believes the racial difference between the initial description of the suspect and the victim is what created an issue.

“You have a sketch and it's a white person and now you have an arrest and it's a black person," Robertson said. "So it's going to be an issue. I think that we just have to continue to pray on it because we all have our own different opinions on this situation. So for me, I just have to pray on it."

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said investigators believe the man driving the red truck may have actually been a witness to the crime.

He also said deputies considered the idea this could have been a hate crime because of another white-on-black shooting that happened nearby one year ago.