“If you’ve got kids, hold them tight.” 9-year-old Houston girl dies after being shot by robbery victim on Valentine’s Day, cops say


HOUSTON – Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the shooting death of a young girl at 2900 Woodridge Drive about 9:45 p.m. on Monday. The suspect is Tony D. Earls, 41.

The victim, 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez, was transported to an area hospital in critical condition but later died.

On Valentine’s Day, officers responded to the shooting call and found the Alvarez unresponsive in her parent’s disabled vehicle.

Police say Earls was with his wife at a bank ATM drive-thru at the above address when an unknown man robbed them. Earls 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.

The vehicle’s occupants, a family of five, were not involved in the robbery. Alvarez, a rear seat passenger, was struck during the shooting.

Earls was subsequently arrested and charged. The unknown robbery suspect remains at large.

“I think she passed away yesterday, to be honest with you guys,” Arlene’s dad, Armando told KHOU. “As a dad, she passed away in my arms. Something not really to brag about or talk about but I saw her come in and I saw her leave, I can tell you that.”

“I don’t wish this on nobody,” Armando added. “If you’ve got kids, hold them tight. Hug them. We think we’re perfect, we think we’re doing everything right then from one day to the next day it’s not even your fault, the tables turn and the worst.”

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

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.

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