One arrested over death of 4-year-old US girl shot during road rage incident

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (REUTERS) - The police arrested a 32-year-old man on Wednesday (Oct 21) after a 4-year-old girl was killed when shots were fired at her father in a road-rage incident in Albuquerque.

Lilly Garcia, who was with both parents in their red four-door Dodge truck on the westbound Interstate-40 highway in Albuquerque on Tuesday afternoon, died after being rushed to hospital.

The suspect, Tony Torrez, matched the description given by the police and faces charges of murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and assault with the intent to commit a violent felony, police said. He was being held on a US$650,000 (S$905,177) cash-only bond.

The child died after she was shot in the head when the suspect confronted her father on Tuesday (Oct 20) afternoon, the police and local media reports said.

"A person of interest from yesterday's road rage homicide just taken into custody," the Albuquerque Police Department said on Twitter. "Waiting on warrants ... We still need tips that could lead to further info in this case."

The arrest follows the publication earlier on Wednesday of a description of the gunman.

Homicide detectives had said they were hunting the driver of a late model maroon or dark red Toyota four-door sedan, possibly a Corolla or Camry, with a spoiler, tinted windows and a gray UNM plate with a "Lobo" logo.

"The person who engaged the girl's father in a road rage incident and then fired shots is a white male with a dark complexion, possibly Hispanic," a police statement said.

He has short dark hair, a thin goatee, and of average build. "He was wearing a black shirt with gold or yellow writing on it," the police department said.

A Gofundme site set up by a relative to help pay for the girl's funeral includes a message apparently posted by Garcia's mother, Veronica, urging anyone with information about the shooter to get in touch with police.

"I need to catch the individual who took my baby from me, her dad and her brother. I beg you, please please please share," the message read.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry offered a US$10,000 (S$13,900) reward for a tip leading to the gunman's arrest and conviction, and said the girl's "senseless murder" had broken hearts.

"The Garcia family is in the thoughts and prayers of our community and our nation," Mr Berry said in a statement. "Make no mistake; this act of violence will not go unanswered."