New York, NY – A leading anti-police activist who offered a reward for information leading to the killer of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes, claims he is now being called a “snitch” after the lead he gave police led to African-American killers.
Columnist Shaun King claimed he raised $100k reward for information leading to the arrest of Barnes' killer.
In response, he actually received the tip that lead police to Barnes’ killers last week, but this week he’s complaining about the response from some in the black community.
“It’s a wild thing to work around the clock to solve the murder of a 7 year old girl after she is shot in the face by a stranger, only to have folk now tweet that I’m a snitch,” King tweeted shortly after noon on Tuesday.
“Are we really playing this game?” the tweet continued. “Had I caught a white man would you call me a snitch? It’s ugly.”
King has a long history of spreading false information, and it's not clear if how many people, if any, are actually calling him a snitch.
One of the Twitter accounts which called him a snitch had only been registered that same day, and had only tweeted over the course of a few minutes before the account was apparently abandoned.
The shooting occurred at approximately 6:50 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2018, as 30-year-old LaPorsha Washington and her four daughters were traveling to a shopping area to get coffee, the Houston Chronicle reported.
They were driving past a Walmart store in Houston when a vehicle pulled up next to them and riddled Washington’s car with bullets.
"As I turned around and looked back at the street, I heard shots start firing and they came through my window, broke my glass, and hit me in my arm,” Washington later told KTRK. “They sped off in front of us and the truck slowed down and continued to fire as he was in front of us.”
After the suspects sped away, one of Washington’s daughters alerted her that something had happened to Jazmine.
"She said, 'Momma, Jazmine's not moving. She's not talking,’” the grieving mother recalled. “I turned around and my 7-year-old was shot in the head."
Washington tried to drive to the hospital, but her tire had been shot out during the attack, the Houston Chronicle reported.
She called 911, but her little girl died at the scene.
Initially, Washington and her daughter’s told police the shooter was a white man in a red truck.
On Jan. 2, King offered a $25,000 reward for information, and partnered up with an attorney advising Barnes’ family, S. Lee Merritt, CNN reported.
That amount eventually grew to $100,000, and King tweeted that he had received hundreds of tips.
Initially, King jumped the gun and publicly accused a white man named Robert Cantrell of having been Barnes’ killer.
But it turned out that Cantrell, who has been receiving threats since King’s tweet, had nothing to do with the Barnes shooting.
In sorting through the tips and leads he received, he came across some information that was very different from all the rest, and he passed it to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, whose agency was heading up the investigation.
That information led to the arrest of 20-year-old Eric Black Jr.
"He became a target in our investigation based on a tip that initially went to journalist and activist Shaun King," Sheriff Gonzalez told reporters. "Mr. King then passed that tip to me personally."
The sheriff said King’s information was a much different angle than what they had been investigating based on the description from Barnes’ mother and teenage sister.
He said investigators believed the white man in the red truck described by Barnes’ family was probably just a witness, and possibly the last thing they saw before the shooting started, according to CNN.
Acting on the tip from King, police pulled over a rental car Black was driving on Saturday, the Houston Chronicle reported.
He ultimately admitted that he was driving the suspect vehicle during the attack, and said that 24-year-old Larry Woodruffe opened fire out a window, according to prosecutors.
The men then went and swapped their rental car out for another one, which Black was driving at the time of his arrest.
Black admitted that the murder weapon, a 9mm pistol, was inside his home, and identified Woodruffe as the shooter in a photo lineup, prosecutors said.
Shortly after the news about Black’s arrest became public, there were comments made on social media about the fact that a Black Lives Matter activist had turned in two black men, and King responded.
Most of the comments surrounded the controversy over King’s race.
King is a “self-identified biracial man” with two white parents, according to liberal media outlet Vox.
Some of King’s critics also accused him of misusing the reward money for the tipster, and King snapped back in an angry series of tweets that disputed the assertion.
In the meantime, the man King misidentified initially as Barnes’ killer is still fielding threats on social media.
“I hear, ‘Someone is going to rape, torture and murder the women and children in your family,” read one comment left on the Facebook page of one of Cantrell’s family members, according to Twitchy.