A nine-year-old girl who was heading out to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her family has died in hospital after she was fatally shot, allegedly by a robbery victim in a case of mistaken identity.
Arlene Alvarez died in hospital despite doctors’ best efforts to save her life, according to police.
She had been hospitalised in a critical condition since being shot in the city of Houston in the southern US state of Texas on Monday night, 14th February.
Arlene’s dad Armando said his daughter was a loving girl who absolutely adored her two younger brothers and helped to look after them.
He also said: “I think she passed away yesterday, to be honest with you guys.
“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.”
He added: “We just had our four-month-old son. She always wanted to be there to change his diapers. She was a mom. She was trying so hard to be a mom.”
The Houston Police Department (HPD) said in a statement released on Tuesday, 15th February, before the child’s death was announced, that the man suspected of having shot her had been arrested.
They named him as Tony D. Earls, 41, and said at the time that he had been charged with aggravated assault.
The HPD said that patrol officers had responded to a call about a shooting at 2900 Woodridge Drive at around 9.45pm on Monday.
They said that they “found the juvenile victim unresponsive in her parent’s disabled vehicle”.
The police added: “Further investigation determined Earls was with his wife at a bank ATM drive-thru at the above address when an unknown male 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. The juvenile victim, a rear seat passenger, was struck during the shooting. Earls was subsequently arrested and charged in this incident. The unknown robbery suspect remains at large.”
It is currently unclear if the suspect had been charged with additional crimes after Arlene passed away. It is also unclear if the police had apprehended the suspected robber at the time of writing.
The first piece of footage was shot by Arlene and uploaded to TikTok on 5th December 2021. The second and third pieces of footage were shared on Facebook by the young girl’s mother, whose name on the social media platform is Gwen Alvarez.
They appear to show the young girl lying on a hospital bed fighting for her life.