9-Year-Old Girl Dies After Being Shot By Robbery Victim: Police

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
February 16, 2022Updated: February 16, 2022

A nine-year-old Houston girl has died after she was accidentally shot by a robbery victim, according to officials.

The girl has been on life support in critical condition after she was shot in the head in southeast Houston, police said.

In an update on Tuesday afternoon, Houston police said that the girl had died.

“Sadly, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences advised late this afternoon that the nine-year-old girl has been pronounced deceased,” Houston Police said in a Twitter post.

The robbery victim, Tony D. Earls, 41, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the Houston Police Department said.

Epoch Times Photo
The robbery victim, Tony D. Earls, 41, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the Houston Police Department said. (Courtesy of the Houston Police Department)

The robbery took place at around 9:45 p.m. on Monday at a Chase drive-through ATM in the city, police executive chief Matt Slinkard said on Tuesday.

Police said the robbery victim was in his vehicle at the ATM while the suspect approached on foot and robbed him at gunpoint.

“The shooting suspect first shot at the robbery suspect, who was fleeing on foot, and then at a pickup truck he thought the robbery suspect had gotten into,” police said.

The pickup truck wasn’t involved in the incident, police said, noting that a family of five were inside, including the 9-year-old girl, who was sitting in the back seat when she was struck.

Her family identified her as Arlene Alvarez. Her father, Armando, told KHOU11 that she was loving and cared fondly for her two younger brothers.

“We just had our 4-month-old son. She always wanted to be there to change his diapers. She was a mom. She was trying so hard to be a mom,” he said.

The family told KHOU11 they were on their way to Spanky’s Pizza for a Valentine’s dinner when Arlene was hit by a bullet.

“I knew she was gone since last night,” said Armando. “Soon as the bullet hit her head. I saw it with my own eyes. I saw everything.”

Witness Joe Maldonado told the outlet that he could hear the 9-year-old girl “talking real low” to her dad while her dad was trying to comfort her.

He added, “The mom was really, she was hysterical, she was basically just running around in circles around the dad and the daughter just looking up at the sky. It was pretty scary to see that.”

The family prayed at the hospital where Arlene was receiving treatment on Tuesday before turning off life support.

The robbery suspect is yet to be identified.

Anyone with information in either this case or the robbery which preceded it is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers.