A 4-year old girl was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon during an alleged road rage incident on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The young girl has been identified as Illliana Rose Rael Garce – Lilly, for short.
According to police, the girl’s family was riding on I-40 around 3 p.m. when another vehicle pulled up alongside theirs and opened fire – one of the bullets hit Lilly in the head. The horrified parents immediately pulled to the side of the road; thankfully, an off-duty deputy arrived shortly to help. The girl was rushed to University of New Mexico Hospital, but she didn’t make it.
“From what we understand, the cars were both moving,” Police officer Simon Drobik reports. “One car pulled up next to the other car and started firing rounds into that vehicle.”
It’s been determined the family did not know the shooter and the incident is being treated as a road rage case. There is a possible witness – a woman who claims she was on the highway behind the two vehicles and witnessed the events immediately preceding the fatal shooting.
“We were actually behind the two vehicles that were in the middle of the road rage incident: red truck, red sedan,” Jonelle Tafoya said. “The red truck was not allowing the red car to pass [and] kept swerving from lane to lane to keep the vehicle behind them.”
The suspect is reported to be a white male – possibly Hispanic – in his mid-20s to mid-30s. He had short, dark hair, possibly in a fade haircut, a thin manicured goatee, a thin face, soft jaw and average build. He was wearing a black shirt with a black shirt with gold or yellow writing on it.
The vehicle he was driving was either a maroon or dark red Toyota four-door sedan Corolla or Camry, with a spoiler on the trunk, and dark tinted windows. The license plate was a gray UNM plate with the Lobo logo on the left hand side – the numbers may have contained the digits “200.”
Police are asking for any information that could lead to answers and bring justice to this little girl’s untimely death.
“People had to have seen that. They had to have seen other vehicles in the area so we’re just begging the community, step forward,” Police Chief Gordon Eden pleaded. “Let’s help this family.”
Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 award for information leading to an arrest; Mayor Ricard Berry is offering an additional $10,000 for a tip that leads to the criminal’s apprehension and subsequent conviction.
“The Garcia family is in the thoughts and prayers of our community and our nation. The senseless murder of four year old Lilly Garcia has broken our hearts and cut to the core of our community,” said Mayor Berry. “Make no mistake; this act of violence will not go unanswered. The Albuquerque Police Department will work tirelessly with other law enforcement agencies to bring this criminal to justice.”
Anyone with relevant information can call 505-242-COPS.
“This is a complete disrespect of human life,” Eden said. “This is something that should not be happening in Albuquerque, New Mexico.”