ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Lilly Garcia rarely said goodbye.
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.
On Tuesday, loved ones will prepare to say farewell to Iliana “Lilly” Rose Garcia, the little girl killed in a road-rage shooting on a New Mexico freeway after her father picked up her and her brother from school.
Her funeral Mass will be held at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Albuquerque, with hundreds expected to pay their respects.
“Iliana had just completed her second day of school at Duranes Preschool before she was tragically taken away from us,” the family said in the obituary. “Lilly enjoyed singing, dancing, talking with everyone and made friends everywhere she went.”
She also liked to take selfies and talk over FaceTime with her grandparents in Nevada, according to her obituary.
Her funeral comes a week after police say a man got into an argument with Lilly’s father over a lane change, and opened fire, shooting the girl in the head, police said.
Police arrested the man, identified by police as 31-year-old Tony Torrez, a day later and said he confessed to the crime. He faces charges for murder, assault, child abuse and other crimes, and is being held on a $650,000 cash-only bond.
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 candlelight vigil, hundreds of people gathered Saturday in downtown Albuquerque, hearing from Lilly’s parents, Police Chief Gorden Eden and others.
“I would ask that your anger not to turn into hate, but your anger to turn into action,” Eden said Saturday. “There’s absolutely no reason for a 4-year-old to lose her life in such a manner.”