Cops Release Image of Man Wanted in Killing of Army Vet, 24, As Family Prepares to Lay Him to Rest
As family and friends get ready to say goodbye to a beloved young Army veteran who was murdered at an ATM in New Mexico last week, investigators continue the hunt for his killer.
On Thursday, the Albuquerque Police Department released a chilling image of man approaching Tyler Lewis Lackey, 24, before he was shot and killed at about 10 p.m. on Feb. 5 in what officials believe was an attempted robbery.
In the photo, a man wearing a hoodie under a black Atlanta Falcons jersey, a baseball cap and a bandana covering his face stands behind Lackey, whose back is toward the ATM camera outside a Wells Fargo.
Officers responding to reports of two men fighting and the sounds of gunfire found Lackey lying in the parking lot near the ATM with at least one gunshot wound, authorities said. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but could not be saved.
Investigators are searching for the man pictured in the newly released photo as well as a woman who is wanted for questioning. It is not clear if the two are connected. Wells Fargo also announced it is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the identification, apprehension and prosecution of those responsible for the killing.
Lackey's family has also pleaded for help identifying his killer.
"Please share," Scott Lackey wrote on Facebook. "As many of you know, this was my brother who was shot and killed at an ATM. He deserved so much better than this."
The family told INSIDE EDITION that they are getting ready to say goodbye to Lackey over the coming days.
Lackey's viewing service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Strong-Thorne Mortuary at 1100 Coal SE in Albuquerque, Scott Lackey said.
Because of the cremation process, an interment service with full military honors will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Those who knew Lackey have shared stories of his compassion and dedication to his family.
"I just wanted you to know what an amazing young man he was," Scott Fuller, who served with Lackey, said in an email to INSIDE EDITION.
"He was so young and green when he came to us. Imagine 2 months out of medic school and you are on your way to a combat zone. I will always remember his red cheeks. You know, the ones on young kids," he continued.
But he said Lackey quickly adapted to his surroundings, taking on his responsibilities with a maturity far beyond his years.
"He immediately learned how to take x-rays, read ultrasounds of the heart and abdomen, cast destroyed limbs, assist in surgery and place expired patients into body bags with dignity. Pretty heady stuff for a 20 year old! And he did all of this with the same smile we all grew to love," Fuller said.
Above all, he said, Lackey was dedicated to giving his little sister Allie the best life she could have.
One of the reasons he left the army was to help his sister, who was struggling in school, putting her into a Catholic school so that she would get more attention from teachers, his brother Scott Lackey told IE.
"Truly impressive for a 24 year old. But this was Tyler. He loved his little sister so much," said Fuller, who, along with other soldiers who served with Lackey, created a GoFundMe page to ensure Allie would get the education his big brother envisioned.
Almost $7,000 had been raised toward the group's $10,000 goal by Friday.
"Your contributions are allowing his memory to endure," Lackey's loved ones wrote.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his 20s or 30s with unkempt facial hair, standing between 5-feet-10 and 6-feet tall, police said.
Investigators are also searching for a Hispanic woman with dark hair believed to be with the suspect at the time of the shooting. She or they may have been traveling in a red and white sedan.