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A child is killed, a boy is rescued, and 950 curfew citations get issued

By Mike Glenn
The Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON - If not for Hurricane Ike's arrival along the Texas coastline, the death of a Pasadena girl last week might have received more notice.
Alyssa Castillo, 5, died Sept. 16 when she was struck by a pickup while riding her bicycle on the street in front of her home in the 900 block of Kerry.
Neighbors said Alyssa was behind a large pile of brush and tree limbs left along the darkened street when she suddenly darted into traffic.
"It was clearly an accident. He (the driver) didn't see her," said Liz Bias, president of the neighborhood association.
On Monday, a makeshift memorial - a wooden cross, some flowers and a few stuffed animals - remained on the grass in front of the girl's home.
"She was a good girl. She liked to help everybody," said Luz Oralia Tovanche, staring at a photograph of her smiling granddaughter in the center of the memorial arrangement.
Alyssa had just started her kindergarten year at Pomeroy Elementary when Hurricane Ike struck.
"She wanted to go back to school. She wanted to see her friends and teachers," Tovanche said.
A Houston police officer's fatal shooting of a kidnapping suspect last week also received scant public attention in the aftermath of the storm. Police on Wednesday were patrolling an apartment complex in the 5300 block of Hershe when officers heard a child screaming for help, HPD officials said.
Officer C. Sellers ran toward the sound. Turning a corner, he spotted Patrick Dante Mathis, 29, wielding a shotgun and dragging an 11-year-old boy behind him.
There was no relationship between Mathis and the boy, police said.
"He was just in the apartment complex and the guy grabbed him," said HPD officer Gabe Ortiz.
Sellers, assigned to HPD's northeast patrol division, ordered Mathis to drop the weapon and release the boy. He refused, police said, and began to raise the shotgun barrel to the child's head.
Sellers then fired, fatally striking Mathis. The child was not harmed. The case remains under investigation by Houston police and the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
Police have not determined the motive for the fatal shooting of a man in southeast Houston, hours after Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston.
Eric Alcazar, 21, was driving along the 5800 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard about 11 p.m. when a car pulled up next to him, police said.
Someone in the second car then began firing at Alcazar, causing him to crash his vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Since Hurricane Ike struck - pitching much of the city into darkness - Houston police have made about 280 arrests every day.
Most were for nonviolent offenses, including 388 for public intoxication and 335 for drug possession, police said.
The totals actually show a decrease from pre-Ike levels, when Houston police were arresting about 370 people daily, according to department officials.
"A lot of the credit goes to the visibility of the officers. We're trying to deter as much crime as we possibly can," said HPD spokesman John Cannon.
Arrests for looting have dwindled. Of the 168 arrests made since the storm, most occurred between 6 a.m. Sept. 13 to 6 a.m. Sept 14. In that time, 61 arrests were made. From 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday, four arrests were made.
Houston police also issued about 950 citations for violations of the city's Hurricane Ike curfew order, which remains in effect from midnight to 6 a.m. until further notice.
"Everyone has been fairly well-behaved," Cannon said. "Those who have not are in jail."

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