Police in New Mexico have charged a 32-year-old man with murder following the road-rage shooting that killed a four-year-old girl and horrified the American public.
Tony Torrez was arrested a day after Lilly Garcia was gunned down in the back seat of her father’s pick-up truck on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque on Tuesday.
The charges came a few hours after police said a person of interest had been taken into custody.
Authorities say Lilly was killed after a maroon or dark-red Toyota saloon car pulled up beside her father’s pick-up and shots were fired into the vehicle.
The freeway shooting happened after her father picked up Lilly and her seven-year-old brother from school.
Police announced the arrest soon after releasing a recording of an emergency call from the scene.
In the minute-long call, a man is heard alerting an operator to a red pick-up truck on the central reservation on Albuquerque’s west side and saying a man appears to be holding an unresponsive child.
Police said the suspect matched a description released earlier of a man in his mid-20s or early 30s with short dark hair, a thin face and goatee beard. Officers are seeking a warrant to search an Albuquerque home and car.
Reward money for tips leading to an arrest in the shooting had grown to more than 25,000 dollars (£16,200).
Police said they struggled with the initial investigation and search for the assailant because of a storm that swept over the Albuquerque area soon after the shooting, witnesses’ varying descriptions of the suspect and a crime scene that could span two miles.