At funeral, small white coffin and memories of girl’s smile

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4-year-old road rage victim’s funeral set for Tuesday.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Hundreds of people have joined the parents of a 4-year-old Albuquerque girl to mourn her death last week in a road rage shooting.Instead, the 4-year-old with bright eyes and a big smile often told others “see you later,” her family said in an obituary recalling the girl’s love for blue Icees and reading time.

About 300 friends and relatives filled a Catholic church for Lilly Garcia’s funeral Mass on Tuesday, a few wearing T-shirts with “Justice for Lilly” written on the back. “Love for Lilly” was scrawled on many vehicles. — The funeral Mass for a 4-year-old shot and killed on an Albuquerque freeway is set for Tuesday, with hundreds of mourners expected to pay their respects. Most people didn’t know her name before the shooting, but hundreds packed a church to celebrate the 4-year-old’s life. “This is heartbreaking to realize this is happening in our city, to lose a child so young that was just starting life,” said Victor Lipari, who attended the service. “I think the main point Father made was Lilly lived a short life, but it was a quality life.” “It takes a long time to get over especially something like this. Lilly was riding in the backseat with her 7-year-old brother after they were picked up from school Tuesday when someone in a Toyota opened fire on the family as they traveled down the main east-west freeway in Albuquerque. “The two drivers exchanged words when Torrez pulled out a gun and shot at the red truck driven by Lilly’s father,” the statement continued. “Lilly was hit at least once in the head.” In the roughly minute-long call released by police, a man is heard alerting an operator to a truck stopped on the median on Interstate 40 on Albuquerque’s west side with “an adult holding an unresponsive child.” Two nurses showed up and tried save the girl’s life as ambulances arrived and rushed her to the hospital, where she died, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said. Trey Ganem, a casket maker from Texas, designed a casket for Lilly to look like it was floating on clouds, with Rainbow Dash, a My Little Pony character, and a rosary decorating the outside.

Authorities quickly began pressing for tips, offering roughly $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the shooter, who was driving a newer-model maroon or dark red Toyota Corolla or Camry with a spoiler on the trunk and dark tinted windows. Todd Farkas, a public defender assigned to the case, said his office will wait to issue a statement until after Lilly’s funeral out of respect for the family. At a late-night news conference, Eden released details of Torrez’s arrest as well as information about the unrelated shooting that evening that left a city policeman critically wounded. An anonymous tipster identified Tony Torrez, 31, as the alleged shooter based on a widely circulated description of the suspect and the car he was driving. Albuquerque officers “have not stopped or slept,” the police chief said. “Every officer in law enforcement in New Mexico is currently looking for the vehicle I described.” Mayor Richard Berry said the slaying “cut to the core” of the community.

Cruz said the family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, including financial donations and a candlelight vigil at Civic Plaza on Saturday. She said Lilly would video chat with her every day. “She would get up at night when I spent the night here,” Cruz said. “Then she would sneak into my room to lie down.

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