The father of a Louisiana State University student fatally shot Friday in Baton Rouge said he plans to see her for the first time since she was murdered at her open-casket funeral on Wednesday.
"We feel blessed we were able to have an open casket with all her gun shots being in her arms and chest and lay eyes on her one more time," Paul Rice said of his 21-year-old daughter, Allison "Allie" Rice. "I know this is going to be the point that I finally just completely break down."
Allie Rice was gunned down Friday morning at about 2:20 a.m. on her way home when she stopped at a set of railroad tracks on Government Street in a rough part of town.
Gunfire erupted around her silver SUV, and she was struck multiple times.
Her father believes she was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. "It could have been anybody sitting at that intersection who suffered the same fate," he said.
The LSU senior's funeral will be held at 11:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Prairieville, Louisiana.
"I think if I were not able to see her one more time, to see that beautiful face, it would haunt me for the rest of my life," Paul Rice said.
Allie Rice, who was studying marketing, has two brothers and five step-siblings from her parents' second marriages.
"Everybody loved Allie," her father said. "She was very vibrant and energetic and had the biggest smile. People always remember her for her laugh. My wife says it sounds like a 3-year-old Disney princess laugh. It’s just infectious."
Allie Rice grew up in Geismar, a suburb of Baton Rouge, and competed in dance and cheerleading competitions in high school.
The shattered father said his main focus now is ensuring he gets justice for his little girl. He last spoke to a Baton Rouge Police Department detective on Sunday who told him they didn't have any leads yet.
But a witness told the local news site "Unfiltered with Kiran" that he was stopped on the other side of tracks by a train shortly before the tragic shooting.
Two men walked by him and passed between two train cars to get to the side of the tracks where Allie Rice was, he said.
"Not even 10 minutes went by and I heard the gunshots go off," he told the news site. "I heard multiple gunshots, at least five to six, and after that, I could still see her car parked. As soon as the gunshots went off, she tried to turn around then she just stopped."
The witness, whose name was withheld in the report, said he called the police Friday afternoon when he learned that Allie Rice had been killed. But a detective didn't get back to him until Saturday, he said.
"I don't think it should have taken that long," he added. The Baton Rouge Police Department didn't return a request for comment.