A man confessed to shooting and killing a 4-year-old girl while arguing with her father in the southwestern city of Albuquerque, police said, without offering more details on what led to the apparent road rage.
Tony Torrez, 32, was arrested Wednesday and admitted to shooting Lilly Garcia while she was riding in the backseat of her father's pickup truck with her 7-year-old brother a day earlier, police said. He has been charged with murder, assault, child abuse and other crimes.
The children's father picked them up from school Tuesday when someone in a Toyota opened fire on the family as they traveled down Albuquerque's main east-west freeway.
The father told authorities that he was trying to exit the freeway when a car forced him out of his lane, a police statement said.
“The two drivers exchanged words when Torrez pulled out a gun and shot at the red truck driven by Lilly's father,” the statement continued. “Lilly was hit at least once in the head.”
The father pulled over and tried to give his daughter first aid as a bystander called the 911 emergency dispatch service.
In a roughly minute-long call released by police, a man alerts a dispatcher to a truck stopped on a median with “an adult holding an unresponsive child.”
Two nurses showed up and tried save the girl's life, then an ambulance rushed her to the hospital, where she died, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said.
Authorities quickly began pressing the public for tips, offering about $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.
Police said an anonymous caller provided the name of a possible suspect Wednesday. With that information and tips from the community, detectives found the suspect and detained him without problems.
“This evening, Torrez confessed to investigators he was responsible for the murder,” the police statement said. He is being held on a $650,000 cash-only bond.
It's not clear what led the incident to escalate, but the father told officers the shooting was the result of road rage.