Texas Democrat Congresswoman stands by remarks suggesting Jazmine Barnes’ killing may have been ‘hate crime’

A Texas Democratic Congresswoman is defending her earlier comments suggesting the drive-by shooting of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes may have been a hate crime, even though both suspects in the case turned out to be black – and not a white individual as police and members of the public initially believed.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, when asked Sunday by a reporter about some of the comments made in the aftermath of the young girl’s death in Houston on Dec. 30, said it was “absolutely not” irresponsible to make that suggestion.

Barnes was shot and killed while sitting in the backseat of her mother’s car. Witness descriptions of a white man in his forties at the scene of the shooting – and a sketch put out by police – prompted widespread speculation a hate crime had happened.

“I believe – and having written hate crime legislation, knowing the criteria, I believe that this should be looked at as a hate crime,” Lee said during a press conference Friday, in a video posted to the Congresswoman’s Facebook page. “We don’t want to have on the street someone who is willing to kill children and possibly kill them in the name of hate.”

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