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Road Rage Killing Suspect Was Accused of Pulling Gun on Driver in 2006

by Phil Helsel /  / Updated 

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The suspect in a road rage shooting that killed a 4-year-old girl in Albuquerque on Tuesday was accused nearly a decade ago of pulling a gun on another driver, according to court documents.

Tony Torrez, 31, is charged with murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and other charges in the death of Illiana "Lilly" Garcia, who was shot in the head as she was being driven home from school on Interstate 40 on Tuesday afternoon.

RELATED: Parents of Girl Killed in Road Rage Shooting Say Child Was 'Beautiful Soul'

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

In 2006, Torrez was arrested on charges that he pulled a gun on another driver during an encounter in a parking garage, according to a criminal complaint in that case.

Torrez’ car was blocking vehicles from exiting the garage on July 30 of that year, and there was a confrontation with the driver of a SUV behind the blocked exit, according to police.

Torrez allegedly got out, showed a handgun in his waistband, and then pointed the weapon at someone in the SUV, and a fight broke out. The gun went off three times during the struggle, and Torrez was "choked out" and disarmed, according to the criminal complaint.

Torrez was charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but in 2007 the case was dropped because prosecutors couldn't secure the cooperation of the victim and witnesses, online court records show. The complaint says the victim was initially evasive to police questions and said Torrez knew where he lived.

Online records in the 2006 case list Torrez' name as Torres, but the district attorney's office confirmed it is the same defendant as in Tuesday's killing.

In Tuesday’s shooting, Torrez is accused of opening fire on the truck Lilly was in at around 3 p.m. local time (6 p.m. ET), in what police have described as a road rage incident.

Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court Judge Chris J. Schultz on Thursday called the killing "possibly one of the most wanton and atrocious acts as alleged I think in the history of this city" and kept Torrez’ bail at $650,000. Torrez remained jailed Friday.

Lilly's father, Alan Garcia, told police he was cut off by a Toyota, he threw his hands up and yelled at that driver, and shots were later fired at Garcia's truck as he sped away, according to the criminal complaint. Lilly was shot in the head and died at a hospital.

An anonymous call led investigators to Torrez and he was arrested Wednesday, police said. Police said they have recovered the car and the firearm believed to have been used in the killing.

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