HOUSTON (KIAH) – A 9-year-old girl is dead after a man who was robbed at an ATM opened fire to stop his attacker and hit the child instead, Houston police said.
At about 9:45 p.m. at a Chase bank in southwest Houston, the man who had been robbed took out his gun and began shooting as the robbery suspect ran away. One of the bullets hit a pickup truck carrying a family of five, including the 9-year-old girl, who was later identified as Arlene Alvarez.
After being shot, the girl was transported to a hospital in critical condition. Her family said she was on life support when she died on Tuesday, hours after the shooting Monday evening.
Tony Earls, 41, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, serious bodily injury.
As of Tuesday morning, Houston police said they didn’t know whether the robbery suspect returned fire. The robbery victim called 911 to report the robbery, unaware that one of his bullets struck the child, police said.
“It just goes to show, anytime there is guns involved, the danger to innocent bystanders is extremely high and everyone please lift up your voices and pray for this innocent child,” HPD Executive Chief Matt Slinkard said.
Earlier this month, Houston officials announced a $44 million plan to tackle rising violent crime. Arlene was the second 9-year-old shot and wounded in the nation’s fourth-largest city within a week: Ashanti Grant was shot in the head during a road rage attack on Feb. 8.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.