HOUSTON — The man accused and charged in connection with the death of a 9-year-old girl has bonded out of jail, according to records.
Tony Earls, 41, is charged with aggravated assault with serious bodily injury. He was being held on a $100,000 bond but posted it and was released Thursday night.
Houston police said 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez was shot when Earls opened fire on a man who he said robbed him late Monday night. Arlene’s family’s truck was passing by when a bullet came through the back window and hit the young girl in the head.
Prosecutors said Earls was riding in the passenger seat of his car along with his wife when they were robbed at a drive-thru ATM. They said the robber took their keys, wallets and cash before running off.
They said Earls got out of the car and fired four shots at the suspect and then fired two more shots at the Alvarez's truck because he thought the robber was inside it.
One of those two shots hit Arlene, who was in the backseat of the truck watching a movie with headphones on.
Earls and his wife drove home and called 911 to report the robbery. Once he was charged in connection with the shooting, he turned himself in to officers at the station. They said he as been cooperating with the investigation.
Earls' attorney argued his client was acting in self-defense after being robbed at the ATM.
“It was an unfortunate situation for both families. They were robbed at gunpoint,” Sepi Zimmer, with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said Thursday. “To me, it’s vitally important that we do identify who this robber is. He’s the person who put the chain of events into action that night.”
Police said the robbery suspect who Earls was shooting at when he hit Arlene is still on the loose. They're urging anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.
Calls for justice
There are growing calls for justice in the wake of Arlene's death. A vigil was held Wednesday night near the bank where she was shot.
Hundreds of people showed up to rally behind her family.
They want justice after they say Earls took matters into his own hands by shooting at their truck after an alleged robbery.
“We cannot have someone shooting at a vehicle taking the law into their hands," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said.
The family was taking a trip to Arlene's favorite pizza place on Valentine's Day when she was shot. Spanky’s Pizza plans to donate 30% of all sales next Monday to the family.