Arlene Alvarez: Family demands justice after their 9-year-old daughter was shot dead by robbery victim outside Chase bank

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – The parents of a 9-year-old girl are demanding justice after she was fatally shot in the middle of an armed robbery in southeast Houston.

Arlene Alvarez was shot in the head while shopping for pizza with her family on Valentine’s Day.

The family planned to stop at Chase Bank in the 2900 block of Woodridge Drive en route to deposit money, according to Armando, her father.

As they approached the bank in their Ford F250 truck, Armando said they saw a man, later identified as Tony Earls, being robbed with a gun at the ATM.

ORIGINAL REPORT: 9-year-old dies after being shot by robbery victim in SE Houston, authorities say

The robbery suspect fled and police say Earls shot the unidentified suspect. Police believe Earls thought the suspect got into the Alvarez family’s truck as they drove by and fired several times at them.

“I told everyone to come down,” Armando said. “Arlene was the only one who didn’t fall. She had her headphones on.”

Arlene’s mother, Gwen, interrupted as she replayed the sequence of events that night.

“‘Lie down, Arlene,’ she said. “‘Lie down, Arlene.” I didn’t scream loud enough. I didn’t know she had her headphones on. “

The emotional family held a news conference Wednesday with about 20 family members, friends and their attorney present.

The family’s attorney, Rick Ramos, said Earls did not act in his own defense.

“Once you take the gun and run away and turn your back on the individual you robbed, that individual is no longer an immediate threat or imminent fear of safety,” Ramos said. “At that point, you lose the right to defend yourself because the threat is gone.”

Ramos said it also plans to sue Chase Bank for not acting in some way to protect its customers given the level of crime in the area.

Ramos also represents Mary Jane Gonzalez’s widow, Hector. Gonzalez was killed at the same Chase Bank in October 2021.

SEE RELATED STORY: Text from husband to suspect who shot wife for more than $40 at a bank ATM in SE Houston: ‘Get a job’

A spokesperson for the bank did not wish to comment on the pending litigation but sent the following statement:

“We are saddened by this tragic incident and offer our sincere condolences to Alvarez’s family. We are working closely with local officials who are handling the investigation.”

Earls was charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and is currently being held with a $100,000 fine in prison.

Armando said he didn’t have anything to say to the man accused of killing his daughter.

Family grieving after Arlene’s sudden death.

“We would always play,” said Leslie Castellanos, the child’s cousin. “We will have a lot of fun since we were little.”

This year Arlene turns 10 years old and her mother said they are in the process of planning a birthday party for her.

“She is very excited to turn 10 this year,” Gwen said. “We’re getting ready to photograph her and buy her gown. Now I’m preparing for her funeral.”

Arlene attended De Zavala Primary School. Houston ISD issued the following statement:

“HISD is saddened by the passing of a De Zavala Elementary School student who passed away Tuesday, February 15, 2022 while off campus. We extend our deepest sympathies to students’ families, friends and entire communities. Advisors stand ready to support students and staff at this difficult time.”

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

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Dais Johnston

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