(CNN) — A man has confessed to the road rage killing of a 4-year-old girl in New Mexico, authorities said.
Tony Torrez, 32, was taken into custody Wednesday, a day after the shooting on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque.
At the time of his detention, officers described him as a person of interest, and declined to identify him pending further investigations. Authorities named him early Thursday.
“He confessed to the murder of little Lilly Garcia,” police Chief Gorden Eden said.
Authorities got a break in the case after an anonymous call from someone who said they had information on the suspect.
The caller provided the suspect’s name and together with other community tips, detectives found the suspect.
What started the shooting?
The incident started Tuesday afternoon when two vehicles cut each other, according to Officer Simon Drobik, a police spokesman.
A short while later, shots rang out. One of the drivers pulled up to the vehicle carrying the girl and opened fire, Drobik said, citing the victim’s father.
The father had just picked up Lilly and her brother, 7, from school. The children were sitting in the back seat of their father’s red pickup, but their mother wasn’t in the car, Eden said.
“To me this is one of those crimes that’s just unexplainable,” he said. “This should never have happened. This is a compete disregard of human life.”
Authorities said they believe the incident occurred within a 2-mile stretch of the interstate, adding that the suspect pulled up alongside the pickup and fired multiple shots.
The suspect was the only occupant in his vehicle.
It appears the family did not know the suspect, police told CNN affiliate KOAT.
Before the arrest, authorities expressed shock at the girl’s killing.
“There were two children in this truck that this animal decided to open fire on just because he happened to get cut off on the freeway,” said Tanner Tixier, another police spokesman.
Investigators were still trying to determine the number of shots fired.
“The information that we received from the father was that he heard multiple shots,” the police chief said.
The father pulled over after the shooting and together with a few nurses who stopped to help, gave Lilly first aid as they waited for medics.
When they arrived, they rushed her to hospital, where she was pronounced dead, KOAT reported.
“To have your child in your hands in such circumstances is going to live with the father for the rest of his life,” Eden said.
Torrez is charged with an open count of murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, assault with the intent to commit a violent felony, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, child abuse, child abuse resulting in death and tampering with evidence.
He is being held on a $650,000 cash-only bond.