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Lilly Garcia, Girl Killed in Road Rage Shooting, 'Was Just a Beautiful Soul'

The parents of a 4-year-old girl who was shot and killed during a road rage incident say their daughter was a "beautiful soul."
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The parents of a 4-year-old girl who was shot and killed during a road rage incident say their daughter was a "beautiful soul" and they will not rest until her killer is locked up for good.

"He took my Lilly," Veronica Garcia, the mother of 4-year-old Illiana Garcia told NBC News on Thursday.

Image: Lilly Garcia
Lilly Garcia, who was killed in road rage incident in New Mexico on her four-year-old birthday party.

Lilly was riding in her family's car with her brother and her father, Alan Garcia, Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when another car pulled up beside them and began firing into the car in what police believe was a road rage incident.

Lilly was struck in the head and later died in the hospital.

"She was just a beautiful, beautiful soul," Veronica Garcia said.

Albuquerque Police arrested a man in connection with Lilly's killing on Wednesday.

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden Jr. said that Tony Torrez, 32, was taken into custody after they received an anonymous call from a person claiming they knew who had shot Lilly.

Torrez confessed to the murder, police said. He is being held on $650,000 cash bond.

"This is possibly one of the most wanton and atrocious acts alleged I think in the history of this city," Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court Judge Chris J. Schultz said at an appearance for Torrez on Thursday.

He was arrested for four prior violent felony arrests between 2006 and 2014, but was not convicted in any of the cases, the judge said.

Image: Tony Torrez
Tony Torrez, 32, was arrested Wednesday night in the shooting death of 4-year-old Illiana “Lilly” Garcia.Albuquerque Police Department

"A child is never supposed to do what my daughter did for me," Alan Garcia said of the incident. "If I would have let her move her seat like she wanted to, I could have survived that. I could have survived it."

Lilly and her 7-year-old brother Isaac were in the backseat of the car when the gunman opened fire.

"As the vehicles proceeded westbound on Interstate 40, shots were fired into the truck," Eden said Wednesday. "The father, recognizing that he did in fact hear shots, saw that his daughter was bleeding, pulled to the edge of the road and tried to administer first aid."

Two bystanders who were nurses stopped to try and save Lilly, but she later died at University of New Mexico Hospital.

"I want this guy to really pay for what he did," her father said.

Both he and Veronica said they will see the case through.

"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."

Veronica said they will miss their "vibrant" little girl and the way she was always laughing.

"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."