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Shaquille O’Neal: Paying for Jazmine Barnes’ funeral ‘right thing to do’

Shaquille O’Neal opened up this week about his decision to pay the funeral expenses for seven-year–old Jazmine Barnes, who was shot and killed on Dec. 30 in a drive-by shooting in Houston.

“With something that terrible to have happened, I don’t want people to have to worry about trying to raise a few thousand to pay for a funeral,” O’Neal told TMZ Sports. “I’m always in Houston. I’ve been living in Houston for 20 years, so I just thought it was the right thing to do.”

O’Neal was joined in pledging financial support to the grieving family by Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who donated his game check from last Saturday’s wild-card loss to the Indianapolis Colts, which amounts to approximately $29,000, per CNN.

Barnes was killed in a drive-by shooting after a vehicle pulled up alongside the car driven by her mother and opened fire. Jazmine tragically was struck in the head by a bullet and declared dead at the scene. Jazmine’s mother was shot but survived. Her three sisters, also in the vehicle, were injured by shattered glass.

The case has been declared a case of “mistaken identity,” according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, via The New York Times.

Two men, Eric Black Jr. and Larry D. Woodruffe, have been arrested and charged with capital murder in Jazmine’s death.