3 men arrested in death of 4-year-old Ava Castillo, deputies say

HOUSTON — The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has arrested several men in connection to the fatal shooting of a 4-year-old girl.

Philip Battles, Marco Miller and Ferrell Dardar are charged with capital murder in the death of Ava Castillo on Nov. 14. Investigators said the little girl was shot when the suspects tried to rob Ava’s mother.

The robbery happened around 8:40 p.m. at the Mission Falls apartments on Greens Crossing.

According to Harris County Sheriff’s deputies, the child, her mother and 10-year-old sister were getting grocery bags out of their vehicle when they were approached by three men.

The suspects demanded the mother’s purse, but she refused to give it up.

“They tried to grab her purse, she didn’t give the purse up, she was holding on to it. One of the males produced a handgun and began firing,” Harris County Sr. Deputy Thomas Gilliland said.

The mother and both of her daughters were struck.

The mother and Ava’s sister were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. The 4-year-old was originally taken to Houston Northwest Hospital, then airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The investigation is being conducted in co-ordination with the sheriff’s office robbery unit, homicide unit and the Houston Police Department.