Robbery Victim Allegedly Mistakes Vehicle for Robber’s, Fatally Shoots Child Inside

Tony D. Earls booking photo. | Image by The Houston Police Department

The Houston Police Department (HPD) announced a 9-year-old girl was shot while in her family’s truck on February 14.

The suspect, 41-year-old Tony D. Earls, alleged that he had just been robbed at an ATM machine and thought the robber got into the truck where the little girl was sitting.

According to a news release, HPD Homicide Division Detectives A. Hernandez and A. Ferrell stated that officers responded to a call about a shooting around 9:45 p.m. at 2900 Woodridge Drive. A 9-year-old girl, Arlene Alvarez, was found unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the head in her parents’ vehicle.

Earls and his wife were at the Chase Bank ATM drive-thru when they were allegedly robbed at gunpoint by a male suspect. The robber then fled on foot, and Earls shot at him. Believing that the robber entered a pickup truck, Earls then reportedly shot at the vehicle.

However, it was not the alleged robber inside, but a family of five who were not involved in the ATM situation. Alvarez, who was in the back seat, was struck by a bullet.

According to CBS DFW, the girl’s father, Armando Alvarez, stated, “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.” She was wearing headphones.

Alvarez, was taken to the hospital and placed on life support. She succumbed to her injuries on February 15.

Earls was charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury on the same day, before Alvarez passed away. The suspect may face updated charges in the near future.

According to the New York Post, Earls went home after the robbery at the ATM machine and called the police to report it, allegedly unaware he shot Alvarez. Records show that he is being held at Harris County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

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