9-year-old girl struck by bullet in truck dies, suspect says he was chasing robber

The girl was in a truck with her family when she got shot, police said.

February 15, 2022, 8:24 PM

A 9-year-old girl died after a man who was held up at a Houston ATM fired at her family's pickup truck while attempting to shoot the robbery suspect, police said.

The suspect in the shooting, identified by police as Tony Earls, 41, was making a transaction at a drive-thru ATM at 2900 Woodridge Dr. in southeastern Houston with his wife Monday shortly before 10 p.m. when he was robbed at gunpoint, according to police.

"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," police said.

PHOTO: A 9-year-old girl was killed after a shooting near an ATM in Houston, Feb. 14, 2022.
A 9-year-old girl was killed after a shooting near an ATM in Houston, Feb. 14, 2022.
KTRK

One of those rounds struck the back window of the pickup truck, which was occupied by a family of five that was not involved in the robbery, police said. A 9-year-old girl in the rear passenger seat was struck during the shooting, police said.

The girl, who has not been publicly identified by authorities, was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical condition. She was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon, police said.

No one else was harmed in the incident, police said. It's not clear whether the robbery suspect returned fire, according to police.

Earls was arrested and charged with aggravated assault-serious bodily injury, police said Tuesday. The complaint alleged that he "recklessly" caused serious bodily injury "by shooting at an occupied motor vehicle with a deadly weapon."

Earls' bond has been set at $30,000. Attorney information was not immediately available.

PHOTO: Police released a mug shot for suspect Tony D. Earls on Feb. 15, 2022.
Police released a mug shot for suspect Tony D. Earls on Feb. 15, 2022. Earls was formally charged with aggravated assault - serious bodily injury in the 263rd State District Court in connection to the fatal shooting of a 9 year old girl in Houston.
Houston Police Department

The unknown robbery suspect remains at large.

Houston Chief of Police Matt Slinkard told reporters at a press conference that all evidence was being reviewed.

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