Vigil held for Arlene Alvarez, 9, shot and killed by robbery victim near Chase bank

Family members are still reeling from the death of a 9-year-old shot and killed by a robbery victim on Tuesday near a Chase bank in southeast Houston. 

BACKGROUND: 9-year-old girl shot in unrelated vehicle during robbery dies

A vigil was held Wednesday for Arlene Alvarez in the 2900 block of Woodridge Drive, where she was killed, and the public was invited to attend. 

Arlene Alvarez (Photo courtesy of Adriana Alvarez, shared with permission)

Authorities say Arlene was killed after Tony Earls, 41, and his wife were at the Chase Bank ATM on Woodridge Drive when another man robbed them. Investigators said Earls then shot at the man that ran away, then at Armando Alvarez’s truck, thinking the innocent family driving by was involved in the robbery. 

Sadly, Mr. Alvarez's daughter, Arlene was hit by the bullet and rushed to a hospital, where she was declared brain-dead for several hours before the family made their decision. 

RELATED: Family members react after 9-year-old girl was fatally shot by robbery victim

FOX 26 spoke with Earls and his wife off-camera on Tuesday. According to the couple, they were held at gunpoint for roughly four minutes at the ATM. Earls' wife claims her husband had been trying to protect them when he fired his gun. The couple says the thief, wearing a mask, stole a paper check, wallet, and $20. The Earls claim the robber then shot at them, so he fired back.

Over the phone, Earls wanted to apologize to the Alvarez family. He said he feels bad and that Arlene didn’t deserve it. Earls and his wife say they’re praying for Arlene’s parents, siblings, family, and friends.

MORE: Suspected gunman says shooting was self-defense, offers prayers for 9-year-old victim's family

Officials with Houston ISD confirmed Arlene was a student at De Zavala Elementary School and issued the following statement: 

We offer our deepest sympathy to the student’s family, friends, and the entire school community. Counselors have been made available to support students and staff at this difficult time. 

Police are still searching for the robbery suspect and anyone with information in the shooting or the robbery is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers.