No charges yet 1 year after 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez was shot and killed in SE Houston

Mycah Hatfield Image
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Still no arrest in the 1 year since 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez killed
It's been one year since Arlene Alvarez was shot and killed by a robbery victim firing at a suspect. While the robbery victim has been released, the robbery suspect has not been arrested.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One year later and no one has been charged in the shooting death of a 9-year-old girl.

Arlene Alvarez, her parents, and her younger brother were headed to get pizza in the Gulfgate area on Valentine's night in 2022.

At the same time, Houston police said Tony Earls was being robbed at a Chase Bank ATM. Earls got out of his car and fired at the suspect as he ran away. The investigation revealed that Earls mistook the Alvarez family's car for a getaway vehicle and fired at it.

Arlene, who was in the backseat, was shot. The 9-year-old was taken to the hospital. The following day, her family removed her from life support.

"I still get the flashbacks of that night," Arlene's father, Armando Alvarez, said. "I close my eyes, and I still see him shooting at my vehicle while the guy was running away."

SEE ALSO: Family of robbery victim accused in 9-year-old's deadly shooting in southeast Houston speaks out

Earls was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, but a grand jury did not indict him. Earls was released from jail.

Houston police are now looking for the robber who started the chain of events.

"Somebody has to be held accountable, one, for starting the robbery and, second, for shooting at a vehicle thinking it was a getaway car," Armando Alvarez said. "There's no thinking when you have a weapon in your hand. Either you know what you're doing, or you don't."

On Tuesday, Arlene's family and friends gathered for a mass to celebrate her life.

SEE ALSO: 'How many kids have to die?': Girl's family angered by release of accused gunman

Her mother, Wendy Alvarez, had her daughter close to her heart. She wore a necklace with her daughter's picture on it.

"It just hurts me the way I lost her, by someone's irresponsibility, and that's what breaks my heart because we are really protective with our kids," Wendy Alvarez said.

There is a $30,000 reward being offered through Crime Stoppers for information in the case.

Arlene's family is hopeful justice will be served.

For more on this story, follow Mycah Hatfield on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.