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A 33-year-old man from Texas, Tony Earls Jr., has been indicted on a murder charge in the killing of 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez in February 2022, nearly two years after he was initially not indicted in connection with the fatal shooting. The case was brought back before a grand jury after District Attorney Kim Ogg assigned a special prosecutor to re-examine it. Earls was initially at a bank on the night of the incident, where he was robbed at gunpoint. While the robber ran away, Earls began firing at the suspect, and several shots struck the Alvarez family’s pickup truck as they were passing by, killing Arlene who was in the back seat.

Arlene was described as a fourth-grade student who took care of her younger siblings and got along with everyone. Earls claimed that he began shooting because he heard gunshots when the robber ran away and believed he was being shot at. He allegedly did not realize that someone had been hit by his gunfire and left the scene to call police and report the robbery. However, a special prosecutor assigned to the case found that an FBI firearms expert concluded that Earls did not have justification to shoot into the passing vehicle with Arlene inside.

Although Earls was initially arrested and charged, he was released after the grand jury declined to indict him for aggravated assault in July 2022. The case was re-examined with new evidence, including the expert opinion on the shooting incident. Houston police are still working to identify and arrest the armed person who robbed Earls on the night of the shooting. If convicted, Earls faces a sentence of five years to life in prison. District Attorney Ogg stated that they are committed to ensuring that justice is served in this tragic case and have done everything possible to understand what happened on the day of the shooting.

The Alvarez family was on their way to a Valentine’s Day dinner at a Houston restaurant when Arlene was fatally shot in the head. The family was left devastated by the loss of their daughter, who was described as a caring and beloved child. Earls’ attorneys have not yet commented on the case, and it remains to be seen how the legal proceedings will unfold. The tragic incident has drawn attention to the need for thorough investigations and accountability in cases involving gun violence, particularly when innocent bystanders are harmed.

Arlene’s tragic death has sparked outrage and sadness in the local community and beyond, as the young girl’s life was cut short in a senseless act of violence. The case highlights the need for accountability and justice when individuals engage in reckless or dangerous behavior that leads to harm to others. The district attorney’s office has reiterated their commitment to ensuring that justice is served in this case and will continue to seek accountability for Arlene’s death. The community has come together to support the Alvarez family in their time of grief, as they try to come to terms with the senseless loss of their beloved daughter.

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