An arrest has been made in the case of Wednesday’s Albuquerque road rage shooting, which left a four-year-old girl dead and a grieving family searching for answers. Though they have 32-year-old Tony Torrez in custody, police are still trying to uncover the shooter’s motive.
Tuesday afternoon, four-year-old Lilly Garcia and her seven-year-old brother were traveling home from school when a man in a Toyota opened fire on their car. According to Alan Garcia, who was driving his children at the time, the Toyota cut him off as he tried to exit the freeway, and forced him out of his lane. Then, via the police statement, The two drivers exchanged words when Torrez pulled out a gun and shot at the red truck driven by Lilly’s father. Lilly was hit at least once in the head.”
As the suspect fled, two nurses stopped and tried to administer aid. Lilly was rushed to the University of New Mexico hospital, but died of her wounds.
A massive manhunt ensued, and a person of interest was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon. By the end of the day, Tony Torrez had confessed to the murder of Lilly Garcia, and is currently being held on a $650,000 bond.
However, police say they still don’t have a definite motive for the Albuquerque road rage shooting, and that it might simply have been a crime committed in the heat of the moment.
In an interview about Lilly with ABC News, Alan Garcia said “She was so proud to tell people she just turned four. She just started school two days ago. She was very bright and very smart….She is my world.”
Lilly’s death has led to an outpouring of support from Albuquerque and beyond. A Go Fund Me page set up to help cover funeral expenses has well exceeded its $10,000 goal; as of this writing, the page has received $59,105 from 2,376 people in under 24 hours.
Others from the community are reaching out, as well. Ana Johanson, owner of Albuquerque’s In Bloom Flowers, said she intends to donate a casket cover, and offered a message of hope for Lilly Garcia’s parents. “This is one mom to another.” she said. “They shouldn’t give up on humanity completely. Not all of us are that evil. This is a time where we have to step up and prove to them that not all is lost.”
In addition, students at the University of New Mexico Medical School said they intend to donate all the money they make at this weekend’s Halloween dance will be donated to the Garcia family.
Unfortunately, it seems that several copycat Go Fund Me sites have been set up in Lilly Garcia’s name. If you would like to donate to her funeral fund, click here for the link to the official fundraiser.
(Photo credits: Lilly Garcia via Go Fund Me; Tony Torrez via Albuquerque Police Department)