(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) — A person of interest was taken into custody Wednesday evening in connection with the fatal road rage shooting of a 4-year-old girl in New Mexico.
Police had been searching for the driver of a maroon or dark red sedan in connection with the case, near Albuquerque.
The child, who has been identified as Lilly Garcia by a relative, was alive when she was transported to a hospital on Tuesday but died later.
Lilly’s father Alan Garcia, who was in the car with her at the time of the shooting, spoke to ABC News about his family’s heartbreak.
“She was so proud to tell people she just turned four,” Garcia told ABC. “She just started school two days ago. She was very bright and very smart.”
“She is my world,” he said.
The Albuquerque Police Department’s homicide division is investigating the case and said the suspect is believed to have “engaged the girl’s father in a road rage incident and then fired shots,” the police reported in a news release.
Albuquerque police chief Gordon Eden said Wednesday afternoon that “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.”
Witnesses also pulled over after they “saw what seemed to be a horrific incident,” Eden said, and two of the witnesses were nurses who helped “render care to little Lilly.” She was then transported to the University of New Mexico hospital, where she died.
Police said the suspect was believed to be a white male with a dark complexion, possibly Hispanic and in his mid-20s to early 30s, with dark hair and a manicured goatee.
The suspect’s vehicle has been described by police as “a ‘sportier’ model with a spoiler on the trunk, and dark-tinted windows.” They also specified that they believe it was a Toyota four-door sedan and may be a newer model from either 2014 or 2015.
The vehicle has a gray University of New Mexico license plate with the school’s mascot, a lobo, which is Spanish for wolf, on the left-hand side and may contain the digits 200, police said.
Eden said that investigators have received “credible and very valuable tips” and the description of the suspect is the product of “more than a dozen leads.”
Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of a suspect in the case. Now the city council has offered a $10,000 reward and Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry is also issuing an additional $10,000 reward for the tip that leads to an arrest.
“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,” Berry said in a statement.
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