Arlene Alvarez shooting: Gwen Alvarez condemns Harris County grand jury decision not to indict Tony Earls after shooting dead her 9 year old daughter while shooting at a fleeing armed robber who moments earlier held him up at a Houston ATM.
‘He gets to see the light. My daughter still doesn’t.’ A Texas mother has condemned a grand jury after it declined to indict a man who shot dead her 9 year old daughter while shooting at a fleeing armed robber who moments earlier had held the man up at an ATM.
‘What is wrong with all of you guys?’ Gwen Alvarez demanded after the decision not to charge Tony Earls, 41, who police say fired the shots that killed fourth-grader Arlene Alvarez, believing his robber got into her family’s pickup.
Adding, ‘There are a lot of children dying. Our future is dying. … Where is the humanity? Where is your heart? Where is your soul?’
Earls opened fire after being robbed at gunpoint at a Houston ATM on Valentine’s Day while with his wife, police and prosecutors said.
But rather than hitting the robber, a bullet pierced the Alvarezes’ pickup as they headed to dinner, striking the 9-year-old girl in the head. The child died the next day.
‘He gets to see the light. My daughter still doesn’t,’
Earls was originally charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, but the grand jury ruled against pressing charges on account of the man also being a victim of a crime. The decision means he cannot be charged again.
Harris County prosecutors had stated that deadly force could be excused including under defense of property cases.
The mother who had sought justice for her dead daughter now questions the criminal justice system who she believes failed her and her family.
‘He gets to see the light. My daughter still doesn’t,’ Alvarez’s mom said at a press conference.
‘My daughter is still down, underground. I don’t know if she is even good spiritually,’ she said, saying she is haunted by watching her daughter getting fatally shot in front of her.
‘I lived that moment, and I go back to that day every night. And I know what happened,’ the distraught parent said.
The dead girl’s aunt, April Aguirre, said the family feels ‘defeated because they so quickly came to a decision that we don’t agree with.’
‘Mr. Earls did what we believe anyone in that situation would have done,’
‘Arlene was murdered, and we will never get her back,’ Aguirre said. ‘Arlene will forever be frozen in time as a fourth-grader. She will forever be 9.’
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg conceded that the grand jury’s decision was ‘very difficult for the Alvarez family to accept.’
‘Our hearts go out to the Alvarez family because Arlene’s death is a tragedy that is unimaginable,’ Ogg said.
To date the suspect who robbed Earls and set off the tragic set of events remained at large, with Ogg saying her office was ‘focusing all of our efforts on finding the suspect who set this chain of events in motion,’ with a $30,000 reward for the armed robber whom Earls had allegedly tried to stop.
Earls’ attorneys told ABC7 in a statement that they were ‘happy with the grand jury’s finding in this case,’ praising the ‘careful deliberation’ it took.
‘Mr. Earls did what we believe anyone in that situation would have done,’ attorneys, Brennen Dunn and Myrecia Donaldson insisted.
A Harris County grand jury just no-billed Tony Earls, the vigilante who shot and killed 9-year old Arlene Alvarez in Feb. Not even an aggravated assault charge.
This is an injustice equivalent to anything else our nation has seen these past few years.#justiceforarlene
— Paul Castro (@PaulCastroTX) July 19, 2022
‘We are relieved that, despite the emotion and tough decisions that had to be made in dealing with this case, justice was served for Mr. Earls.’
Still, ‘there is no greater loss than that of a loved one, and we continue to grieve for the loss of such a beautiful soul,’ Earls’ attorneys said.
‘While that life weighs heavy on us, we are happy with the grand jury’s finding in this case.’
Of question is whether Earls was in mortal danger as the robber fled the scene and whether his decision to shoot at the fleeing robber was an attempt to exact a kind of vigilante justice?