Albuquerque police announced late on 21 October that a male suspect had confessed to a road rage shooting on Interstate 40 that killed four-year-old Lilly Garcia. The 32-year-old, identified as Tony Torrez, was charged with murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, assault with the intent to commit a violent felony, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, child abuse, child abuse resulting in death and tampering with evidence.
Authorities said Torrez confessed to the 20 October shooting that killed the little girl, who was in the backseat of her father Alan's truck. Alan Garcia was driving westbound on Interstate 40 and was about to exit the freeway when he was forced out of his lane by Torrez. The two exchanged words before Torrez pull out his gun and fired at Garcia's vehicle, Fox News reported.
Garcia's two children, Lilly and her 7-year-old brother, were sitting in the backseat of the truck. The girl was hit at least once in the head. Albuquerque Police Chief Gordon Eden said the father tried to give his daughter first aid as a bystander called 911. At one point two nurses also tried to save the girl's life, when she was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Her father and brother were unhurt in the shooting.
"My Illiana Rose had this personality that would just be over and above her age, and this smile and these beautiful big brown eyes and would just light up a room," her mother Veronica Garcia told CNN affiliate KOAT. "The first time you met her, she'd just grab your heart."
The New York Times reported that police credited a tip from an anonymous caller to the arrest of Torrez. "The caller provided detectives the suspect's name," police said in a statement. "With that information and multiple tips from the community, detectives were able to find the suspect."
The statement continued: "This evening, Torrez confessed to investigators he was responsible for the murder." Torrez is being held on a $650,000 cash-only bond. Police did not offer more details as to what led to the apparent road rage, Mashable noted.
According to Mashable, a GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the girl's family. At the time of writing, the page surpassed its $10,000 goal with $69,694 in donations. "Your help, comfort and compassion during this most difficult time is greatly appreciated, please keep them all in your prayers," her mother wrote on the page.