"My heart goes out to the person that shot my baby"

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – A man has been jailed in connection with the Christmas Eve murder of a 15-year-old girl.

Police say 22-year-old Adrian Blankenship Jr., of Longview, told another man to grab his gun during a dispute early Christmas Eve outside at a car wash near William's Chicken on Gentry in Tyler.

Authorities say that an unidentified man, who was not Blankenship, fired multiple shots at a crowd of people.

A stray bullet hit and killed 15-year-old Nicole Cartwright, who was an innocent bystander.

A cross made of Nicole Cartwright's pictures hang on her mother's wall. Her mother, Gloria, says her daughter's face is her light.

"And I look at that big old smile because this was her everyday," says Gloria.

On Monday, there was a break in the case, as Blankenship has been charged in connection to her death.

Police say he's been on their radar since the shooting.

"He was involved in an altercation in Longview last night where there was another incident happening in Longview. Through their investigation of their incident, he had traffic warrants out on him so he was arrested for those. We asked them to hold him until we could secure our warrant," said Don Martin of the Tyler Police Department.

With the arrest comes a little peace for Nicole's mother.

Gloria says "I thank God that they did find someone and I know there's going to be closure to me, my family and everyone that loved her.

According to the arrest affidavit, Blankenship is not the shooter. Authorities say they're still looking for the man Blankenship instructed to pull the trigger.

"He was involved with possible suspects that are involved in this so the case remains under investigation and is still under investigation," said Martin.

While the case remains unsolved, Nicole's mother says she chooses forgiveness over anger.

"My heart goes out to the person that shot my baby. My heart goes out to them."

Police still need your help in finding the person who shot and killed Nicole Cartwright. If you have any information, you are asked to call police immediately.

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