The parents of 4-year-old Lilly Garcia who was fatally shot in a road rage incident described her as a beautiful soul, adding that they want the person responsible for the tragedy to be locked up.
“He took my Lilly,” Veronica Garcia, mother of Lilly, said.
The tragedy struck the Garcia family on Tuesday, when Lilly was travelling along with her brother and father, Alan Garcia, in her family’s car on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Another car pulled up beside them and opened fire into the Garcia’s car in what has been widely believed to be a road rage shooting.
A bullet struck Lilly in the head. She was declared dead in the hospital. “She was just a beautiful, beautiful soul,” Veronica said.
On Wednesday, Albuquerque Police arrested Tony Torrez who was involved in Lilly’s killing. His arrest came after the police received an anonymous call from a source who said they knew who fired the fatal bullet at Lilly. Torrez, who has admitted to the crime, is being held on $650,000 cash bond, as reported by NBC News. He has been charged with murder, assault, child abuse and other crimes. “This is possibly one of the most wanton and atrocious acts in the history of this city,” Judge Chris Schultz said.
The call received by the police alleged that the gunman acknowledged firing at the little girl after Alan’s car tried to run him off the road. Alan and Torrez didn’t know each other. “The two drivers exchanged words when Torrez pulled out a gun” and shot, the statement said. “Lilly was hit at least once in the head.”
According to St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jonell Tafoya, who said she witnessed the incident, saw two cars in a fight. She had been taking her daughter home and was on I-40 when the incident occurred. She said that the father, Alan, was trying to keep the car from passing him. Describing that the truck was “really egging it on,” she said, “The red truck was kind of swerving to keep the red car behind them. When we were leaving the overpass, I said ‘Something bad is going to happen from this.'” While Tafoya said that the father should have been driving more carefully, there is no excuse for someone to pull out a weapon and shoot a girl.
Deeply saddened over their loss, Alan and Veronica said they will not rest easy. “You’re going to continue to see our face,” Veronica said. “I will be there until I know he’s sentenced and I know he’s put away and even after that.” She said that she and Alan will miss their “vibrant” daughter. “You know, she’s not going to first grade,” Veronica said through tears. “What are we going to do for the holidays? Because he made a choice to pull out his gun.”