Houston Man Indicted in Fatal Shooting of 9-Year-Old Girl

Houston Man Indicted in Fatal Shooting of 9-Year-Old Girl
Tony Earls Jr

Tony Earls Jr., a 33-year-old from Houston, has been indicted for murder in connection with the fatal shooting of 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez in 2022, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced on Tuesday.

The incident occurred on February 14, 2022, at the Chase Bank located at the intersection of Winkler and Woodridge in Gulfgate. Earls was robbed at gunpoint at around 9:30 p.m. Following the robbery, Earls pursued the robber and fired shots, inadvertently striking the Alvarez family’s pickup truck as they passed by the bank. Tragically, Arlene Alvarez was hit and killed by the gunfire.

Initially charged with aggravated assault, Earls was not indicted by a Harris County grand jury in July 2022 and was subsequently released. However, earlier this year, DA Ogg appointed special prosecutor Warren Diepraam to reassess the case. Diepraam’s investigation, which included input from an FBI firearms expert and continued collaboration with the Houston Police Department, led to Earls’ indictment for murder.

Diepraam stated that evidence indicated Earls had a clear line of sight when he fired into the passing vehicle, with no justification for his actions. He also commended HPD’s ongoing efforts to identify and apprehend the armed robber who targeted Earls.

If convicted of murder, Earls could face a sentence ranging from 5 years in prison to life. Grand jury proceedings remain confidential, but they typically involve reviewing evidence and hearing from witnesses to determine whether indictments are warranted.