Tragedy struck a New Mexico family when their four-year-old daughter was needlessly shot on an interstate highway.
In a crime being described as road rage gone awry, an anger motorist fired a gun at another car while driving on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque, and in doing so accidentally hit a little girl inside.
Illiana “Lilly” Rose Garcia was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting on Tuesday.
It started as a normal afternoon, with Alan Garcia picking Lilly and her brother Isaac, 7, up from school. The two children sat in the back seat of his red Dodge Ram pickup truck as the family headed towards a nearby grocery store.
While attempting to exit the highway to get to the store, another car crossed two lanes of traffic and blocked Mr. Garcia. According to official documents, Mr. Garcia made an obscene gesture at the other driver and called him a “f—ing idiot”.
The other driver, later identified by an anonymous tipster as Tony D. Torrez, 32, pulled up alongside the Garcia vehicle and said “something towards Alan but he did not know what was said,” according to police.
As Mr. Garcia started to drive away, the other car followed close behind. Two shots rang out, hitting the back of Garcia’s truck. A third shot struck the passenger side of the vehicle and a fourth shot went wide as the shooter sped off.
When Mr. Garcia turned to the back seat, he saw his young daughter had been shot in the head.
“She’s bleeding,” said Isaac, sitting beside her.
Two passing nurses who had seem the incident rushed over and tried to help. They held paper towels to Lilly’s head and elevated her feet. But it was no use. Lilly died shortly after arriving to the hospital.
“To have your child in your hands in such circumstances is going to live with the father for the rest of his life,” said police Chief Gorden Eden.
The alleged shooter, Torrez, was arrested the following day. He is being charged with charged with an open count of 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.
“This is possibly one of the most wanton and atrocious acts in the history of this city,” said Judge Chris Schultz.
Torrez is currently being held at Bernalillo County Metropolitan jail on a $650,000 cash-only bail. Torrez does not yet have an attorney representing him.