The murder of 4-year-old Lilly Garcia, who was sitting next to her 7-year-old brother in the back of her father's truck when a gunman fatally shot her, has rallied New Mexico's Albuquerque community to take action in ways the police department has "never" seen before.
“We have never seen such valuable information, that we consider to not only be credible, but extremely valuable,” Police Chief Gorden Eden said in a press conference early Wednesday evening, while emphasizing that police now have 12 credible leads thanks to the diligence and calls of New Mexican residents heartbroken over little Lilly's murder.
Lilly's immediate family is said to be too traumatized to speak, but her mother's cousin, Patty Romero, said they are "blown away" by the outpouring of support.
"She was like any other 4 year old girl," said Romero to Fox News Latino as she choked up. "She was a little princess. A loving little girl. They took her away too soon because someone was being senseless. Regardless of whose fault it was, she didn't deserve what happened to her," she added.
On Wednesday Romero started a GoFundMe page to pay for the funeral services that raised more than $42,000 dollars in seven hours. French Funeral Home in Albuquerque has offered to pay for the burial of little Lilly.
Police Chief Eden further detailed the horrific events from Tuesday night's apparent road rage shooting. He said that as Lilly's father drove westbound on interstate 40 shots were fired at his red truck. Recognizing the sound of gunshots, the father, a Navy veteran, turned and saw his daughter Lilly bleeding.
The mother, Veronica, was not in the vehicle.
He pulled to the edge of the road and started to try to save his daughter. Two nurses also pulled over and tried to help little Lilly. The 4-year-old was transported to the University of New Mexico hospital where she died.
"This is a horrific time for the family, the tragic loss of little 4 year old Lilly way before her time," Eden said. "I just can't imagine being the father of little Lilly, I just can't."
Albuquerque police say they have interviewed the family – including her 7-year-old brother –about the horrific night.
"She loved her brother," Romero told FNL. "It's sad. She was just a silly little kid who looked exactly like her mom."
Police Chief Eden emphasized on Wednesday night the suspect was likely driving a 2014/2015 maroon or red Toyota Camry or Corola with University of New Mexico license plate. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 20s or early 30s with a thin face, goatee and average build.
On Wednesday night authorities announced they are now offering a $25,000 reward for any information that may lead to an arrest.