HOUSTON – NBA great Shaquille O’Neal is helping to cover funeral costs for Jazmine Barnes, the 7-year-old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting.
O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion and 15-time All-Star in his 19-year NBA career, is an analyst with Turner Sports. He and Houston Senior Police Officer Kenneth Miles brought a cashier’s check to Jazmine’s family last week to pay for the funeral, which is scheduled for Tuesday.
The news, first reported by CNN affiliate KPRC, was verified to CNN on Thursday by O’Neal through Turner Sports. Turner Sports and CNN are part of Warner Media.
Jazmine was in a car with her family as they drove through Houston when she was shot in the head on December 30.
Eric Black Jr., 20, has been arrested and is expected to be charged Monday with capital murder in Jazmine’s death. Black reportedly told police he drove the vehicle used in the shooting while a man in the passenger seat opened fire. A second person, currently in jail on drug charges, is also listed as a suspect in the shooting.
Last week, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins pledged his playoff game check to Jazmine’s family. In an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, Hopkins said it was to help the family with funeral costs, hospital bills for Jazmine’s mother or other family needs.
“That could have been anyone in my family,” Hopkins said, reiterating one of his tweets in which he said that he thought of his own 5-year-old daughter when he saw a picture of Jazmine.
According to the NFL, Hopkins was set to make $29,000 for Saturday’s AFC Wild Card game. The Texans lost to the Indianapolis Colts in Houston, ending their season.