HOUSTON – Houstonians continue to do what they do best and show support in times of need. This time it was for Arlene Alvarez’s family after the 9-year-old was shot and killed last week.
“You guys made time for us…for Arlene,” her father, Armando Alvarez, said. “It shows on everyone’s faces. She was a light to something. I can say that I’m glad I was her dad.”
The beloved girl was taken from her family way to soon after being shot in the head on Valentine’s Day. The accused gunman, Tony Earles, has already bonded out of jail.
“Someone is not doing their job and we need to change that,” her father said.
Earles, too, was a victim that night as he was robbed at a Chase Bank on Woodridge Drive. He grabbed his gun and began shooting at the fleeing suspect when the Alvarez family drove onto the scene, The innocent girl was riding in the back of her family’s truck when she was hit by a bullet.
Earles was charged because, even though he was a robbery victim, his decision to shoot at the suspect, who was running away, put other lives in danger.
Sunday was all about Arlene as the community stepped up to support the family. It started when hundreds of trail riders paid tribute to the girl.
“She was a lover of horses as well. She loved cowboys and cowgirls. I mean what kid doesn’t like a horse,” Nestor Rubio said.
Then hundreds of cyclists met at the Market Square Park in downtown Houston and biked nearly seven miles to the Chase Bank, where a BBQ fundraiser was being held for the family.
“It’s easy to send a Facebook message or to comment, but to physically see people there, I feel like that will touch them and it will touch their hearts, make them feel a little at ease with what’s going on with all this,” Juan Villarreal said.
A long line wrapped around the parking lot.
Jose Delgadillo, the owner of FatBoyTx BBQ, wanted to do something special for the family.
“I’m a father, so I don’t know what it’s like to lose but I would hate it,” he said. “That’s how we do it in Houston, everybody looks out for each other.”
Arlene’s family said they were overwhelmed by the love and support.
“It’s amazing how the community is backing us up and we feel really appreciated,” her mother, Gwen Alvarez, said.
On Monday, the Spanky’s Pizza shop on Telephone Road will donate 30% of sales to Arlene’s family. The family was heading to Spanky’s that night for dinner when Arlene was fatally shot.