Arlene Alvarez Houston 9 year old girl accidentally shot dead by Tony Earls ATM robbery victim, shooting at man who had held him at gunpoint.
They had gone out for a Valentine’s dinner… but now one Texas child’s family are planning for a funeral.
A 9 year old Houston girl has died after a man who had allegedly been robbed at gunpoint at an ATM fired off at his attacker -only to ‘accidentally’ strike Arlene Alvarez sitting in a passing truck, Monday night.
Arlene had been on life support before fatally succumbing to her injuries the following day, the child’s father told reporters.
The shooter identified as Tony Earls, 41, was charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury according to a City of Houston release. The man who remained held on $30K bond at the Harris County Jail faced potential upgraded charges.
Speaking to reporters, Arlene’s father said the 9 year old was sitting in the backseat of his truck with her siblings and was wearing headphones when the shooting started Monday evening.
Endemic gun violence
‘When we were getting shot at the first time, and I told them ‘get down,’ she was the only one who didn’t get down. She didn’t hear me,’ Armando Alvarez said.
Dane Schiller, a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors would be look at all the evidence in their assessment of whether to upgrade charges against Earls.
‘Our hearts go out to the Alvarez family. We are going to review all the evidence, apply the law and determine what charges are appropriate,’ Schiller said.
Executive Assistant Police Chief Matt Slinkard on Monday night called the shooting ‘an unbelievably tragic event.’
On Monday, Earls and his wife were at the ATM at around 9:45 p.m. when another man walked up to their vehicle and robbed them at gunpoint, Slinkard said.
As the suspect fled on foot, Earls got out of his vehicle and opened fire, including at a pickup truck he thought the robbery suspect had climbed into, police said. But the truck carrying a family of five was not involved and had been ‘simply driving’ down a street near the ATM, Slinkard said.
Robbery suspect yet to be found
‘It just goes to show, anytime that there’s guns involved, the danger to innocent bystanders is extremely high,’ Slinkard told reporters.
Alvarez said he was driving his family to Arlene’s favorite restaurant when the shooting happened. He said his instinct was to drive faster when he heard the shooting start, to get away from the scene.
‘As soon as I speed up, what are you doing? You are already coming next to him. You’re going toward the guy shooting. So I guess when I speed up, he thought I was with that guy,’ the father said.
Earls, who later called police to report the robbery, told authorities he did not know his gunfire had hit the truck. Police were searching for the robbery suspect. They have not determined if that man returned fire or was shot.
‘Crazy how life can change in a blink of an eye … no matter how ready we think we are. We never are,’ Arlene’s father, wrote on Facebook. ‘I ended up working late today and could have taken the day off to spend the day with you. My baby is gone.’
A vigil will be held Wednesday at the Chase bank where the tragic shooting occurred, Alvarez said.