A 9-year-old girl who was shot by a robbery victim has died, Houston police say
A 9-year-old girl died after being hit by a bullet fired by a man who had just been robbed, Houston police said Tuesday.
She is the second 9-year-old girl to be shot in the city in a week.
Robbery victim Tony D. Earls, 41, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the The Houston Police Department said.
Police Executive Chef Matt Slinkard said tuesday that the theft took place around 9:45 p.m. Monday from a Chase ATM in southeast Houston.
The suspect approached on foot while the robbery victim was in his vehicle at the ATM and robbed it at gunpoint, police said.
“The shooter first shot the robbery suspect, who was fleeing on foot, and then shot a van he believed the robbery suspect had boarded,” police said. noted.
The van was not involved in the theft and instead had a family of five inside. The 9-year-old girl was hit in the head while sitting in the back seat, police said.
The girl was hospitalized in critical condition and later pronounced dead, police said.
Her father, Armando Alvarez, identified the girl as NBC affiliate Arlene Alvarez Houston KPRC reported.
Alvarez said tuesday that he told his daughter to lie down when the gunshots started, but she had headphones on and did not hear him.
“She didn’t feel anything,” he said. “She had her headphones on. By the time I turned around, he was gone.”
Witness Joe Maldonado said KRPC that he got out of his car to see what was going on and the father asked him to call 911.
“He pulled over to the side of the pavement there and sat down with his little girl…” Maldonado told KPRC.
The young girl “just started coughing and crying, and she was talking, but it was in a very low voice, and her father was talking to her to try to calm her down,” Maldonado said.
The girl was found unconscious when officers arrived, according to the police report. The unknown suspect in the theft is still at large, according to police.
The shooting comes after Ashanti Grant, also a 9-year-old girl from Houston, was shot in the head last week while sitting in the back seat of her parents’ car. She was hospitalized in critical condition.
In that case, police say an incident of road rage led to the suspect shooting into Grant’s family’s car as they drove to the grocery store.
On Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner urged people to submit tips that could help arrest those responsible for Grant’s shooting and increased the reward from $5,000 for information to $30,000.
In an email to NBC News, Turner said, “One shooting is one shooting too many.”
The mayor said there were “too many guns on the streets” and said he announced a million-dollar gun buy-back program earlier this year.
“The Firearm Carry Act of 2021 allows people 21 and older to carry a handgun without a license or training. That adds to the problem,” Turner said.
“The city is doing its part to keep Houstonians safe, and we need the help of state leaders.”