US Report: Khamenei Approved Saudi Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

US Report: Khamenei Approved Saudi Attack

Thursday, 19 September, 2019 – 09:00
Saudi Arabia displays the wreckage of the Iranian weapons that were used in the oil facilities attack. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
An American report revealed Wednesday that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei had approved the attack against two Saudi Aramco oil facilities last week.

He gave his blessing “but only on the condition that it be carried out in a way that made it possible to deny Iranian involvement,” a US official told CBS News.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday displayed wreckage of Iranian cruise missiles and drones. The circuit boards can be reverse engineered to determine the exact route the weapons flew, said the report.

“But US officials said the most damning evidence is still unreleased satellite photos showing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard making preparations for the attack at Ahvaz Air Base in southwestern Iran,” it added.

The satellite photos were of no use in stopping the attack since their significance was not realized until after the fact, explained the report.

“We were caught completely off guard,” one US official said.

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have pointed the finger at Iran for the September 14 raids, which hit the world’s biggest crude oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output.

The French army spokesman said it sent seven experts to Saudi Arabia to join an investigation.

UN officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen are also helping probe the attack.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the attacks, which he described as an “act of war” against Saudi Arabia, would be a major focus of next week’s annual UN General Assembly meeting.

He had arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

China to impose sanctions on US companies in case of arms sales to Taiwan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China to impose sanctions on US companies in case of arms sales to Taiwan

Xinhua

China on Wednesday urged the United States to immediately cancel the planned arms sales to Taiwan, saying China will take all necessary measures to defend its own interests including imposing sanctions on US companies involved in the planned sales.

The US Defense Department on Wednesday officially notified the US Congress of the plan to sell 66 F-16 fighters and relevant equipment worth around US$8 billion to Taiwan and to provide support.

“China firmly opposes the plan and has lodged solemn representations and protests to the US side,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing.

The US arms sales plan seriously violated international laws and basic norms governing international relations, as well as the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, especially the August 17 Communique, Geng said.

“[Such a move] constitutes severe interference in China’s internal affairs, and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests.”

The spokesman said the Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is associated with China’s core interests. “China has firm determination to safeguard its own national sovereignty, unity and security.”

Geng urged the US side to abide by the one-China principle and relevant provisions laid out in the three China-US joint communiques, “immediately cancel the aforementioned arms sales plan, cease arms sales to Taiwan and sever military ties with the island.”

“Otherwise, all the ensuing consequences will be born by the US side,” Geng added.

India: India rethinks buying US armed drones

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India rethinks buying US armed drones

The Indian Air Force has raised concerns about an armed drone surviving in a contested air space like PoK or along the LAC.

INDIA Updated: Jul 28, 2019 07:14 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
New Delhi
IAF,Indian airforce,India
This undated US Air Force file photo released on June 20, 2019 shows a photo of a RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. – A US spy drone was some 34 kilometers (21 miles) from the nearest point in Iran when it was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian surface-to-air missile June 20, 2019.(AFP)

Last month’s downing of the US Global Hawk drone by Iran in the Persian Gulf has prompted a rethink within the Indian military establishment, led by the air force, over the acquisition of American-made armed drones on account of their cost and questions over their survivability.

India’s three services had planned to buy 30 drones from the US at a cost of $6 billion. While the tri-services have not yet approached the defence minister for “acceptance of necessity,” or AoN, to procure the drones, the plans were for the air force and the army to acquire 10 Predator-B drones each and the navy to buy long-distance surveillance versions.

According to the military brass, the IAF has internally raised questions about an armed drone surviving in a contested air space like over Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) or along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — the disputed de facto border between India and China — with both potential adversaries equipped with top of the line surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems .

“The armed drone has been successfully used by US in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria as the skies are dominated by their air force. Pakistan is the only country that has counter-capabilities but will think 100 times before it decides to take a US drone down by a SAM or beyond visual range air-to-air missile,” said a senior military commander on condition of anonymity.

The US’s top of the line RQ-4 Global Hawk was shot down by Iran’s S-300 missile system on June 20 in Persian Gulf airspace.

The rethink on US drones has nothing to do with US President Donald Trump’s Kashmir recent mediation faux pas; the Narendra Modi government has decided to cut out the Trump noise over Kashmir and concentrate on building India-US ties for times to come.

Trump said after meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this month that Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue — a claim India immediately and firmly denied.

The other significant reason behind the Indian rethink is the prohibitive price of armed drones like the Predator-B. According to the military establishment, the cost of a bare drone platform will be to the tune of $100 million and a full complement of weapons like laser-guided bombs or hell-fire missiles will cost another $100 million.

“This means that an armed drone with full complement of weapons will be more expensive than Rafael multi-role fighter with all weapons and missiles on board. Under the circumstances, the IAF will give preference to acquiring more multi-role fighters with long-range air-to-air missiles and the Indian army will be looking towards replacing its dated T-72 tanks. The Indian navy needs more surface combatants at sea rather than an armed drone for projecting itself as an Indo-Pacific power,” said a senior South Block official.

After the shooting down of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s MiG-21 fighter by a Pakistani F-16 in an aerial skirmish on February 27 in the Rajouri sector, the air force has become interested in longer-range air-to-air missiles and the army wants equipment for its battle groups like tanks and howitzers for a faster response to the western adversary.

When asked to comment on the drone acquisition plans, a senior defence ministry official said, requesting anonymity, that a decision on whether or not to acquire armed drone from the US or any other country will only be taken once the three services approach the government with a proposal.

First Published: Jul 28, 2019 07:12 IST

China: Turkey blocked from F-35 program for accepting Russian S-400

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Turkey blocked from F-35 program for accepting Russian S-400: White House

Xinhua
Turkey blocked from F-35 program for accepting Russian S-400: White House

AFP

In this file photo taken on June 12, 2019, an F-35 fighter plane flies over the White House in Washington DC.

The White House confirmed on Wednesday that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems has led to the termination of Ankara’s involvement with the F-35 program.

“Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” the White House said in a statement.

The statement noted the F-35 jets cannot coexist with S-400 systems, arguing that its intelligence collection platform would be used to learn about the advanced capabilities of F-35 stealth fighters.

“Much of the F-35’s strength lies in its stealth capabilities. So, the ability to detect those capabilities would jeopardize the long-term security of the F-35 program,” Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord told the media at the Pentagon later on Wednesday.

The US and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program, Lord said.

Turkey suppliers, which provide over 900 parts for F-35, would no longer receive US$9 billion in projected work share over the life of the program, according to Pentagon.

“Turkey will certainly and regrettably lose jobs and future economic opportunities from this decision,” Lord added.

Turkey has ordered over 100 F-35 fighter jets, and a handful of them had been scheduled to transport to Turkey in the coming months. The arrangement of those F-35 was still under discussion, according to Lord.

Ankara’s acceptance of the S-400 not only has detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the NATO alliance but also undermines the commitments all NATO allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems, the White House said.

The Trump administration, at the same time, sought to reduce the repercussion for the bilateral relations.

Washington still greatly values the strategic relationship with Turkey, the statement added, saying US-Turkey military-to-military relationship is strong and the two allies would continue to cooperate extensively.

The United States has been actively working with Turkey to provide air defense solutions to meet its legitimate air defense needs, said the statement.

The statement, however, made no mention of possible sanctions against Turkey as required by law under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

Pentagon officials also deferred all questions about possible sanctions to the Department of State.

In December 2017, Ankara and Moscow signed a US$2.5 billion agreement for two batteries of the S-400 system. Turkey began taking the delivery of the S-400 system Friday.

Jordan: Firearm Law Creates Controversy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Jordan: Firearm Law Creates Controversy

Wednesday, 10 July, 2019 – 11:45
Jordanian man carrying weapon (File Photo: AFP)
Amman – Mohammed Khair al-Rawashdeh
Jordan’s firearms draft law is clashing with a social legacy of arms possession, even though the country’s tradition legalizes the use of weapons within social boundaries and controls.

The government recently sent the 2019 weapons and ammunition draft law to the Lower House’s Legal Committee for revision, in its attempt to crack down on festive firing at celebrations.

The tradition has caused widespread controversy in recent days after the legal committee began discussing the amendment of the weapons and ammunition law drafted by former interior minister Hussein Majali in 2013.

Head of Lower House’s Legal Committee Attorney Abdel Moneim al-Oudat tried to contain part of the objections against the law, seeking to redefine arms possession and its legalization without asking citizens to hand over their weapons.

Oudat told Asharq Al-Awsat that the aim of the law is to regulate weapons possession while maintaining everyone’s right to ownership, taking into regard the rights of carrying light and automatic weapons.

He noted that the law is supposed to redefine the regulations of the Interior Ministry’s capacities in granting possession licenses.

Over the past few years, several social network pages and forums were formed to illegally sell and buy weapons. Authorities regularly announce the seizure of weapons smuggled from the border areas of the Kingdom, especially the north.

MP Oudat called for using the opportunity of presenting the bill to the House of Representatives to adopt a short and medium-term strategy to achieve specific goals through the development of legislation texts, taking into account the inherited social customs and traditions.

Earlier, Interior Minister Salameh Hammad told a number of MPs about the existence of 10 million weapons with Jordanian citizens, which drew criticism, especially that the Minister’s comment did not refer to any accurate statistical figures, which some have described as exaggerated.

Former Interior Minister Samir Habashneh revealed new figures related to arms possession and acquisition licenses, confirming to Asharq Al-Awsat there are 150,000 licenses in the Kingdom.

Habashneh questioned the accuracy of the figures circulated by MPs, quoting Minister Hammad, pointing out that they are much lower. He indicated that it is more important to regulate weapons’ possession; saying their i Jordan’s firearms draft law is clashing with a social legacy of arms possession, even though the country’s tradition legalizes the use of weapons within social boundaries and controls.

The government recently sent the 2019 weapons and ammunition draft law to the Lower House’s Legal Committee for revision, in its attempt to crack down on festive firing at celebrations.

The tradition has caused widespread controversy in recent days, after the legal committee began discussing the amendment of the weapons and ammunition law drafted by former interior minister Hussein Majali in 2013.

Head of Lower House’s Legal Committee Attorney Abdel Moneim al-Oudat tried to contain part of the objections against the law, seeking to redefine arms possession and its legalization without asking citizens to handover their weapons.

Oudat told Asharq Al-Awsat that the aim of the law is to regulate weapons possession while maintaining everyone’s right to ownership, taking into regard rights of carrying light and automatic weapons.

He noted that the law is supposed to redefine the regulations of the Interior Ministry’s capacities in granting possession licenses.

Over the past few years, several social network pages and forums were formed to illegally sell and buy weapons. Authorities regularly announce the seizure of weapons smuggled from the border areas of the Kingdom, especially the north.

MP Oudat called for using the opportunity of presenting the bill to the House of Representatives to adopt a short and medium term strategy to achieve specific goals through the development of legislation texts, taking into account the inherited social customs and traditions.

Earlier, Interior Minister Salameh Hammad told a number of MPs about the existence of 10 million weapons with Jordanian citizens, which drew criticism especially that the Minister’s comment did not refer to any accurate statistical figures, which some have described as exaggerated.

Former Interior Minister Samir Habashneh revealed new figures related to arms possession and acquisition licenses, confirming to Asharq Al-Awsat there are 150,000 licenses in the Kingdom.

Habashneh questioned the accuracy of the figures circulated by MPs, quoting Minister Hammad, pointing out that they are much lower. He indicated that it is more important to regulate weapons’ possession; saying their inventory and their whereabouts is far more important that discussing their amount.

The former minister believes it will be rather impossible to disarm people, stressing it is required to issue an official invitation that provides incentives to all those who license their weapons. This process, he believes, will provide accurate and precise information on arms possession.nventory and their whereabouts is far more important than discussing their amount.

The former minister believes it will be rather impossible to disarm people, stressing it is required to issue an official invitation that provides incentives to all those who license their weapons. This process, he believes, will provide accurate and precise information on arms possession.

Iranian Militias on Alert after East Syria Deployment Maps Leaked

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iranian Militias on Alert after East Syria Deployment Maps Leaked

Saturday, 6 July, 2019 – 11:45
A picture taken on March 22, 2017 near the town of Latamneh in the countryside of the central Syrian province of Hama, shows a displaced Syrian family travelling with their belongings down a road as two rebel fighters on a motorcycle drive past them. AFP file photo
Damascus – Asharq Al-Awsat
“Eye of the Euphrates” has published on its social media sites maps and detailed locations of 13 key Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) positions in the strategic Syrian city of al-Bukamal.

The page, which was created last year and has more than 122,000 followers, published a video showing a truck transporting arms and ammunition from one base to another.

It noted that the Iranian militias have gone on high alert and were changing their deployment locations.

Fatemiyoun leader in al-Bukamal Salman al-Irani has pledged a financial award to whoever provides information on the persons monitoring and taking photographs of Iranian militia bases.

Such developments come amid unprecedented tension between Iranian and Russian forces in the wake of Russian measures east of the Euphrates to limit Iranian influence in the area.

Among the locations revealed by “Eye of the Euphrates” is a site on the banks of the Euphrates river on the other side of al-Baghouz village which now falls under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The site is a main base for Iranian militias, where 150 Fatemiyoun members are located.

Another map showed two key locations in Hay Jamiat, the first belonging to Hezbollah and the second to Harakat al-Nujaba.

This neighborhood also includes two headquarters for intelligence agents, one belonging to Hezbollah and the other to the IRGC.

According to “Eye of the Euphrates,” the headquarters of Zainebiyoun militias who are specialized in night patrols are widespread as well.

In Bukamal’s countryside, there is a base for the Fatemiyoun that constantly erects checkpoints to inspect civilians.

A meeting bringing together the national security advisers of Russia, the US, and Israel was held in Jerusalem last week to discuss Iranian presence in Syria and urged Moscow to engage in downsizing Iranian power.

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

 

I was born in the mid 1950’s and grew up watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news. Mr. Cronkite was by most considered to be the “most trusted man in America.” Whom is it that you totally trust the most in American news media or within the political realm today? With all the news outlets of today all trying to get you to watch or listen to them I find it difficult to put much trust in any of them. There are two main reasons for that, one is that each of these outlets are companies, they are ‘for profit’. Two is the consideration of where are they getting their information?

 

I am in my early 60’s now so during the past 50 years or so we here in the U.S. have been constantly told that we are the good guys and governments who are Communist are the bad guys. From all of the reading and studying that I have done over the years I really don’t doubt that these Communists governments are far less than friendly toward their own population nor to others. Communists seem to think military first and usually military only and it is a proven fact that very few people who are military oriented are very good public leaders. Military frame of mind and civilian frame of mind seldom seem to end up within the same person. Then again within the non-communists countries the people have to put up with politicians who seem to change their mind like farts in a breeze. Here in the U.S. we the people have learned a lot since the NSA murdered John and Bobby Kennedy back in the 60’s. When Nixon was President he illegally expanded the war in Vietnam into Laos and Cambodia. We had military personal who died there or were captured there that our government turned their back on as well as their families basically saying they must have deserted. When the U.S. officially left Vietnam Nixon got on TV and said there were no more POWs in southeast Asia, knowing very well that he was lying to the people. Reality comes down to the fact of truth or not the truth, trust or not being able to trust.

 

Now I am going to talk about current events here in the U.S. and this reality of trust or no trust. On a personal level can you trust a person on really serious matters when you absolutely know as a fact that they have lied to you many many occasions?  In the last 24-36 hours we have been hearing on the news that Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone. The early news strongly hinted that the drone was over Iranian land which by all forms of international law would have been a violation committed by the Americans and Iran would have had every right to shoot it down. By international law every country which borders a body of water has 12 miles sovereignty except for China’s Communists government who seems to want to claim at least a few thousand miles sovereignty but that is another story for other articles. Now the U.S. government is saying that the drone was 21 miles off of Iran’s coast and if this is true then basically Iran committed and act of war against the U.S. and the U.S. government would have the right to retaliate against Iran. The issue is, how can we trust our own government when they and especially our President is a habitual liar? President George W. Bush’s lies paved the way for us to start a war with Iraq. Personally I believe that he was just trying to show his Daddy that he could ‘one-up’ him and take out Saddam. Think of the cost of those lies in terms of thousands of people dead and about a trillion dollars of taxpayer money thrown into that bloodbath. Today’s news headline said that some of the Republicans in the Senate were upset that President Trump called off a bombing raid in Iran that would have started an all out war with them and their allies. Going to war with anyone should not be a partisan matter and going to war should not be in the hands of one person. If we are going to enter a war this war should be voted on and passed by at least 2/3 of the Congress and the Senate. This is not a computer game, many thousands of people will die. So, what is the truth on this matter, can you or I honestly trust anything that Mr. Trump says? Personally I don’t. Credibility is something that our leaders no longer have, their word is not good enough any more. If we go to war with Iran they have many allies including many sleeper cells within our own borders, many Americans on American land will die, life as we have always know it here in the States will be over. But, how the hell can we the people ever know if what we are being told is the truth, or just another lie.

 

High Tower Armory takes the Ruger 10/22 to a new level

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE DAILY SUN NEWS)

 

High Tower Armory takes the Ruger 10/22 to a new level

99¢ YOUR FIRST MONTH!
Rifle
Shooting buddy Joe Vyhnalek gets the feel of the Hightower Armory 90/22. Would you believe there is a Ruger 10/22 under the skin of this rifle? It is just as accurate as a 10/22 and maybe even more fun to shoot!

Firearms have been around for over 700 years. The oldest known firearm is a large bore pistol-style configuration that dates back to 1288. Ever since that first gun was made, people have wanted to improve them, make modifications and accessories for them.

Today, the Colt 1911, AR-15 rifle and the Ruger 10/22 are probably the firearms that have the greatest number of add-ons and accessories made for them. There are literally thousands of aftermarket products made for these guns.

Of this grouping, the Ruger 10/22 is a very popular rifle for several reasons:

(1) The rifle is well made and reliable

(2) They are inexpensive (as guns go)

(3) And they are just fun to shoot

The Ruger 10/22 is also heading for the title of “most produced” American firearm ever. A few years ago I wrote an article about the Ruger 10/22 passing a milestone of 5 million rifles made. That number is now about six million, and sales do not appear to be slowing down.

Most of the shooters I know have at least one 10/22 in their collections. Other shooters have several 10/22s, each one set up for a specific style of shooting or to just have something a bit different. This column is for those folks who want something just a bit different!

I recently ran across a company called High Tower Armory that makes a kit which reconfigures a 10/22 into a rifle that looks totally different. The High Tower Armory HTA 90/22 takes a standard 10/22 and makes it look like the very futuristic FN P90.

The FN P90 is made in Belgium and has been adopted as the primary battle rifle for at least 40 countries and law enforcement agencies around the world. It is a very short, bullpup design that works well in close quarter combat and looks like it came out of Star Wars.

Andy Wentzel, is the owner of High Tower Armory and decided to create a conversion kit that would reconfigure the Ruger 10/22 into something that went up about 20 points on the “really cool looking” scale. The HTA 90/22 is a great project for anyone who wants to have “something different” to show off at the range.

A nice compact box from High Tower Armory showed up in my mail. When I opened it I was duly impressed. Instructions were very thorough and easy to follow. Putting the kit together was very easy as well. Everything I needed was in the kit and everything fit together just like it was supposed to. Anyone that can use a screwdriver and follow directions can leisurely assemble the HTA 90/22 in a couple of hours.

The finished product has impressed everyone I’ve shown it to, including my occasional shooting buddy Joe Vyhnalek. I handed the HTA 90/22 to Vyhnalek and he examined the rifle.

“Wow! There is a 10/22 under all that?” Vyhnalek asked with a big grin on his face. “This is very cool!”

Vyhnalek shouldered the short bullpup design and took a look through the red/green dot scope I had added to the top picatinny rail on the rifle.

“Have you shot it yet?” Vyhnalek asked as he peered through the scope.

“Yep. It shoots a bit low and right. I haven’t had a chance to zero the scope yet,” I answered. “There is no recoil and it does stay on target.”

Vyhnalek ripped off about 20 rounds. “I like this! How much does something like this cost?

The retail price is about $270. It might seem like a lot (basically doubling the cost of a 10/22 rifle) but it is a well designed, well built kit. I think it is worth every penny. Check it out for yourself at www.hightowerarmory.com.

Have a great weekend outdoors!

Ideals For A Third Party Platform Here In The U.S.

Ideals For A Third Party Platform Here In The U.S.

 

1.) The Supreme Court decides the policy on abortion, not a politician.

2.) Guns and/or ammunition can not be outlawed from the public. To me, the only exception should be such things as machineguns. Grenades, C-4 and such weapons should be banned unless you have a specific permit to own them, like with a licensed collector.

3.) Recreational marijuana should be just as legal as alcohol, Federally! This government prohibition is just as ignorant and illegal as the prohibition of alcohol was in the 1930’s.

4.) Flat tax rate of 10% on all things, no write-offs, no exemptions, no loopholes. 6% Federal tax. 2% State tax. 1% each for County and City. I look at taxes this way, the Lord asks us to donate at least 10% toward Him which He requires us to help others with like our communities.

5.) All people running for any office must supply the prior 10 years of tax returns when they officially or unofficially announce they are ‘running’ for an Office.

6.) Mandatory retirement age for any Office of 72 years old. If a person is wanting to be elected to any office if they will turn 72 or older during that 2, 4 or 6 years then you are not allowed to be in that or any such Office. You say that is not legal that it is age discrimination, I say no, I believe you are incorrect. The reason is, you have to be a minimum of 35 to be allowed to be President. If that isn’t discrimination then neither is my idea of being to old.

Just a thought folks on what I would like to see as the Platform of a 3rd political party. so here it is.

7 Year Old Jazmine Murder Solved? Police Have Arrested Two

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

A 20-year-old man in Texas was arrested Saturday and charged in the death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was shot and killed while riding in a car with her family in Houston. Another man is being held in connection with the shooting but has not yet been charged, a lawyer for the girl’s family said.

Eric Black Jr., 20, was charged with capital murder and appeared in court early Sunday morning, wearing handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. He was ordered held without bail. A prosecutor said Black admitted to driving the car when his passenger opened fire.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Barnes family, told CBS News another suspect had also been arrested.

The shooting occured in Houston on Dec. 30 when a car pulled alongside the vehicle carrying Barnes and her family at a stoplight and a gunman opened fire. Jazmine died of a gunshot wound to the head, and her mother was hit in the arm.

LaPorsha Washington, Jazmine’s mother, said in the days following the shooting that she believed it was racially motivated. Her 15-year-old daughter, who was also in the car, initially said the shooter was a white man in a red truck, and police released an artist’s sketch Thursday showing a thin, white man with a 5 o’clock shadow. Black, the alleged driver, is African American. The full name of the alleged gunman is not yet known, but Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Sunday the individual is also African American.

In a press conference Sunday afternoon, Gonzalez said there was indeed a red truck at the stoplight when shots rang out, but said investigators now believe the person or people in the truck were nothing more than witnesses. He urged the unidentified driver of the truck to come forward.

Gonzalez said investigators don’t believe “in any way” that family members were involved in anything “nefarious.” He added that investigators believe two people were involved in the shooting, but would not comment further since Black is the only individual who has been charged.

“We feel that they were truthful. This just went down very quickly when the gunfire erupted,” Gonzalez said. “You’re talking about small children — they witnessed something very traumatic. And it is possible that the last thing they did see was indeed that red truck and that driver that was in that truck, and that’s what they remembered last.”

jazmine-ssvo-frame-0.jpg
Jazmine Barnes.HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Earlier Sunday, a prosecutor presented details of the case against Black at a hearing at Probable Cause Court in downtown Houston. Appearing by video conference, the prosecutor said Gonzalez had received an anonymous tip passed along by journalist and activist Shaun King. The source implicated two men identified as “LW” and “EB” in the shooting after authorities asked the public for help identifying the assailants.

The source for the tip said the suspects thought the vehicle carrying Jazmine was another vehicle they had seen earlier in the day, the prosecutor said, and didn’t realize they had hit the wrong vehicle until seeing the news later that day.

The source provided the sheriff with the name of an Instagram account used by one of the suspects, which investigators determined belonged to Black, the prosecutor said.

On Saturday, police stopped Black in a grey Kia for failing to signal when changing lanes, and held him for suspected marijuana possession after a deputy said he saw a plastic bag with what appeared to be marijuana in his glove box when Black opened it to find his insurance card. The officer searched Black’s car, found more marijuana and detained him, the prosecutor said.

eric-black-jr1.png
Eric Black Jr. appears in court for a probable cause hearing on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.ONSCENE.TV

Homicide detectives interviewed Black on Saturday, and the prosecutor said Black admitted to driving the vehicle involved in the shooting. Black told investigators “LW” — identified in court only as “Larry” — was seated in the front passenger seat of a rental car and fired at the vehicle carrying Jazmine. Black returned that rental car after the shooting and picked up the car he was driving when he was pulled over Saturday.

The prosecutor said in Sunday’s hearing that Black then agreed to a search of his residence, where police found a 9 mm pistol consistent with shell casings found at the site of the shooting.

Gonzales, the sheriff, said Sunday that police had received more than 1,000 tips in the case. A reward of $100,000 had been offered for information leading to an arrest. At a rally in Houston on Saturday, more than 500 people honored Jazmine and helped raise money for the family.

Zachary Hudak contributed reporting.

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